KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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‘Sham’ Cancer Charities Accused Of Misusing $187 Million In Donations

Money donors gave to pay for pain medications, hospice services and other cancer care was instead spent by a family on personal items like meals and dating websites, according to a civil complaint filed by federal officials.

The Washington Post: Cancer Charities Bilked Donors Out Of $187 Million, Government Says
A group of four cancer philanthropies bilked donors across the country out of $187 million, the Federal Trade Commission charged Tuesday in what the agency called one of the largest government actions against charity fraud. The four groups named in the civil complaint are the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society. Their operations from 2008 to 2012, which were called a “sham” by the FTC, relied on emotional appeals to help women and children with cancer. (Whoriskey, Dennis and Cha, 5/19)

The New York Times: 4 Cancer Charities Are Accused Of Fraud
There were subscriptions to dating websites, meals at Hooters and purchases at Victoria’s Secret — not to mention jet ski joy rides and couples’ cruises to the Caribbean. All of it was paid for with the nearly $200 million donated to cancer charities, and was enjoyed by the healthy friends and family members of those running the groups, in what government officials said Tuesday was one of the largest charity fraud cases ever. (Ruiz, 5/19)

The Wall Street Journal: Cancer Charities Called $187 Million ‘Sham’
A group of family members whose charities claimed to be raising millions of dollars for cancer victims bilked donors to the tune of $187 million over five years, spending some of that money on fancy cars and trips for themselves and their friends, according to a civil suit. The alleged fraud, which would be one of the largest-ever involving a charity, was detailed in a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (McWhirter, 5/19)

The Associated Press: FTC: Family Raised $187M For Cancer, Spent It On Themselves
A Tennessee man and his family used much of the $187 million it collected for cancer patients to buy themselves cars, gym memberships and take luxury cruise vacations, pay for college tuition and employ family members with six-figure salaries, federal officials alleged Tuesday in one of the largest charity fraud cases ever, involving all 50 states. The joint action by the Federal Trade Commission and the states says James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife and son raised the money through their various charities: The Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee, and its affiliated Cancer Support Services; The Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona; and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America in Powell, Tennessee. (Flaherty, 5/19)

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