Georgia joins fight against ‘sham’ cancer charities

Georgia has joined the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and 35 other states to accuse four cancer charities and their operators with stealing more than $187 million from consumers.

The charities told donors money contributed would help cancer patients, but most of the money went to benefit the charities’ operators, families, friends and fundraisers, Attorney General Sam Olens and Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Tuesday.

The federal complaint says Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and The Breast Cancer Society, plus several officials, used telemarketing, direct mail, websites and other materials to raise money that would supposedly benefit cancer patients. Instead, the complaint says, the money went to cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet-ski outings, sporting events, concert tickets and dating websites.

“Today, I am joining forces with federal and state partners to put an end to an egregious and extensive charity fraud scheme which claimed to assist children with cancer and breast cancer patients,” Olens said in a statement. “These so-called charities took advantage of the generosity of others to fund their lavish lifestyles. It is appalling that only 2.7 percent of the donations collected by these phony charities went to the intended charitable purpose.”

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