Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society agreed to shut down, but Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services refused – until now.
CFA, CSS, and their leader, James Reynolds Sr., have agreed to settle charges that, while those two groups claimed to help cancer patients, they actually spent the most of the donations on their operators, families and friends, and fundraisers.
Under the settlement order announced Wednesday, CFA and CSS will shut down and their assets will be liquidated. The order also imposes a judgment against CFA, CSS, and Reynolds of $75.8 million, the amount consumers donated to CFA and CSS between 2008 and 2012.
In addition, Reynolds is banned from profiting from charity fundraising and nonprofit work, and from serving as a charity’s director or trustee or otherwise managing charitable assets.
If you’re considering donating to a charity, do some research before you give, said Colleen Tressler, consumer education specialist for the FTC. By finding out as much as you can about the charity, you can avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity. Tressler recommends that you:
- Ask the charity questions directly about what it will do with your money.
- Search the name of the organization online. Use the words “complaints” or “scam.”
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.
- Check if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a way to reduce telemarketing calls, but charities are exempt. However, if a fundraiser is calling on behalf of a charity, you can ask not to get any more calls from that fundraiser on behalf of that charity. Say “Please put me on your do not call list.” If those calls continue, contact the FTC. The fundraiser may be subject to a fine.