Cancer charities accused of stealing $187 million from donors

Cancer Fund of America building.
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Four charities that claimed to be helping cancer patients were actually lining the pockets of their executives, the Federal Trade Commission said in a complaint filed against the Cancer Fund of America, Children's Cancer Fund of America, the Breast Cancer Society, and Cancer Support Services.

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In one of the largest charity fraud cases ever filed, the executives stand accused of stealing more than $187 million from consumers, USA Today reports. They said the money went to pay for chemotherapy treatments, hospice care, and medicine, but in reality it went toward elaborate vacations, concert tickets, and college tuition, the complaint stated. "The defendants' egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "I'm pleased that the FTC and our state partners are acting to end this appalling scheme."

The complaint states that the organizations, which hired family members and friends and gave them high salaries, solicited funds through the Combined Federal Campaign, which collects donations from federal workers for nonprofits. Three people — Rose Perkins, president and executive director of the Children's Cancer Fund of America; James Reynolds II, executive director of the Breast Cancer Society; and Kyle Effner, chief financial officer for Cancer Support Services — agreed to settle their charges, and they will no longer be allowed to manage charities or oversee charity assets. The other parties involved did not settle and will face legal action.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.