When people give money to a charity, they give it with the hope that their donation will go toward whatever cause the charity represents, whether it be cancer research, global health care and/or relief efforts, helping war-torn areas, etc. The hope is that the money will actually do some good and the charity is out to do something noble.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to CNN, 4 cancer charities operated by members of the same extended family took $187 million in donations and spent almost none of it on cancer patients or cancer research.
The 4 charities are:
- Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee;
- The Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona;
- Children's Cancer Fund of America; and
- Cancer Support Services
"The government says the charities claimed to provide direct support for cancer patients, breast cancer patients and children with cancer," CNN reports.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, these were lies.
"Jessica Rich, chief of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, says that in all, the charities spent about 97% of donations they received either on private fundraisers or on themselves. Only 3%, she says, went to help actual cancer patients. [...]
"[D]onated funds were used to pay for vehicles, personal consumer goods, college tuition, gym memberships, Jet Ski outings, dating website subscriptions, luxury cruises, and tickets to concerts and professional sporting events," the complaint says.
"Most of what we are doing is bringing actions against fraud," says Rich. "And this is as about as bad as it can get: taking money away from cancer victims."" - CNN, May 19. 2015
The attorney generals of all 50 states have joined the FTC in filing a legal complaint against these charities. However, since there are so few assets left, CNN reports that the FTC believes the government will be lucky to recover $1 million.