Multi-million dollar cancer charities accused of scams

Oregon joins a federal lawsuit against four national cancer charities.

Share this article!


Four national cancer charities are the subject of a federal lawsuit that all 50 states and the District of Columbia have joined.

The Cancer Fund of America and its affiliated Cancer Support Services — The Breast Cancer Society, Children’s Cancer Fund of America — are all owned by a Tennessee man whose family is accused of misusing $187 million of donations.


Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined the suit. Oregonians donated at least $25,637 to the Cancer Fund of America between 2010 and 2012, according to state figures. The group didn’t submit figures for 2013 and the deadline hasn’t yet passed for 2014.

The group had solicited donations in Oregon through the mail. Oregon also had a previous settlement with one of the groups, Cancer Fund of America Support Services, said spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson. That 2008 settlement assigned a $25,000 fine if any future violations were discovered.

The suit alleges the family used the money on luxury cruises and college tuition. 

Fundraising groups kept 85 percent of proceeds, according to the Oregon Attorney General’s office.

The Statesman Journal reports:

The complaint alleges that the defendants inflated their revenue by reporting more than $223 million in in-kind donations on tax documents to hide their high fundraising and administrative costs.

“This is a good example of why it is so important to research where your charity donation is going, and to make sure it is actually going to help those in need,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a press release. “There are many wonderful and honest charities registered in Oregon, and they are the ones that should be supported.”

The Associated Press reports that it is unlikely that money will be paid back because it has already been spent.