California Joins Lawsuit Targeting Sham Cancer Charity

California Joins Lawsuit Targeting Sham Cancer Charity

Attorney General Rob Bonta said charities that deceive donors "will be held accountable." (California Attorney General's Office)

Travis Gillmore
Travis Gillmore

3/14/2024

Updated: 3/18/2024

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State Attorney General Rob Bonta is urging Californians to check the status of charities before donating as he joins 10 other plaintiffs, including other states and the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit targeting a fraudulent cancer charity foundation.
“Cancer Recovery Foundation solicited and misused generous donations from hardworking families—in California and across the nation—who wanted to help battle cancer, and support cancer patients and their families,” Mr. Bonta said in a March 12 press release announcing support for the lawsuit. “In reality, the foundation’s president solicited donations unscrupulously to pay his salary, expenses, and benefits.”
He vowed to prioritize oversight of charitable organizations.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable. Charities like Cancer Recovery Foundation that mislead individuals will be held accountable,” Mr. Bonta said. “The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting California’s charity donors, beneficiaries, and organizations from the harm caused by deceptive charities.”
The bipartisan group of attorneys general from Florida, Texas, and Oregon, among other states are accusing Greg Anderson, CEO of Cancer Recovery Foundation, Inc.—a charity group including the Women’s Cancer Fund and the New Era Cancer Research Fund, among others—of defrauding charitable donors by spending more than 85 percent of $18.25 million in donations collected between 2017 and 2022 on for-profit fundraising organizations instead of on cancer patients and family members.
(Federal Trade Commission)

(Federal Trade Commission)

According to the complaint, marketing materials from the charities led donors to believe money collected would be used to provide resources for cancer victims and their families.
Emails, pledge letters, and advertisements promised donors that 50 percent of the money would be used caring for cancer patients, the attorneys allege.
Less than $200,000 was used to benefit the causes listed by the groups, according to the lawsuit, while Mr. Anderson was paid more than $775,000 over the same period. Additionally, he allegedly deducted “costly” hotel and travel expenses.
“Generous donors contributed ... believing that their money was going to help women with cancer pay for rent, utilities, and food for their children,” the lawsuit alleges. “Just about  ... one penny of every donated dollar was actually used for such purposes.”
The plaintiffs argue the deceptive methods defrauded donors.
“Under these circumstances, individual donors were deceived, and their charitable contributions wasted,” the complaint reads. The resulting harm was widespread.”
Cancer victims, families, and legitimate charities were harmed by the misrepresentations, the lawsuit alleges.
The California Department of Justice regulates charitable organizations by overseeing activities reported in annual filings.
Mr. Bonta recommended in his press release that Californians should verify charities on the attorney general’s website before donating.
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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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