Cancer Charities Empire Bilks Donors Out of $187 Million


  • Judy Freiwirth Nonprofit Solutions Associates Alliance for Nonprofit Management



charity fraud, fraud


In one of the largest actions brought to date against charity fraud, on May 19, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 50 states’ attorney generals filed a civil complaint against a group of four cancer charities alleging that they bilked donors of $187 million. The complaint described the four charities as “shams” operating for the benefit of family and friends (FTC, 2015). According to Whoriskey, Dennis, and Cha (2015), the government alleged that the scheme was run by a single family through four charities known as the Cancer Fund of America, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and the Breast Cancer Research Society. At the center of the fraud operation was James T. Reynolds Sr., who opened the first of the four charities, the Cancer Fund of America, in 1987. 

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