The FTC has accused the four cancer charities of spending over $187m of donations that were meant for cancer patients.
In the federal complaint, filed in the District Court of Arizona, the FTC said the charities: “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest and excessive insider compensation.”
The four charities were: Cancer Fund of America, the Breast Cancer Society, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and Cancer Support Services.
They have been charged by the FTC and 58 law enforcement partners from every state and the the District of Columbia.
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: “Cancer is a debilitating disease that impacts millions of Americans and their families every year. The defendants’ egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support.
“The defendants took in millions of dollars in donations meant to help cancer patients, but spent it on themselves and their fundraisers. I’m pleased that the FTC and our state partners are acting to end this appalling scheme.”
The defendants used telemarketing calls, direct mail, websites, and materials distributed amongst federal employees to portray themselves as legitimate cancer charities.
They said they gave direct support to cancer patients in the US, providing patients with pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy, and hospice care.
However what the money was allegedly used for included cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships.
Find out more about sham charities here.