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Blumenthal Statement on Landmark Charity Fraud Enforcement

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued a statement regarding the announcement today by the Federal Trade Commission that it has joined all 50 states in launching the largest enforcement action against charity fraud to date. The action addresses four sham cancer charities, Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of American and the Breast Cancer Society.  The FTC announced today that it has reached proposed settlements with the Children’s Cancer Fund of American and the Breast Cancer Society that will dissolve those two charities. Litigation against the Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services remains pending.

According to the FTC, consumers have donated over 187 million dollars to these charities, believing their money would go directly to individuals suffering from cancer. Despite being told their donations would cover the costs of pain medication and supplies, hospice care and transportation, only 0.71 percent of donated money ever went to covering those costs. Instead, millions of dollars in donations were diverted for personal gain.

“These sham, look-a-like charities— repugnant and reprehensible fraudulent operations— collected over $187 million from generous, well-meaning individuals, who sincerely believed they were assisting people in need. Instead, these self-dealing fraudsters pocketed the donations, robbing cancer patients of the financial support they needed and deserved. I commend the FTC for their aggressive action, and urge them to continue and broaden this probe. I remain deeply troubled by ongoing reports of deceptive and misleading solicitations, including potentially fraudulent organizations purporting to act on behalf of Connecticut veterans. This landmark enforcement should serve as a stern warning to self-dealers seeking to misuse and abuse charitable donations, but consumers must remain vigilant. Never give money to an organization that cannot or will not provide detailed information about its identity and how any donations will be used, and be particularly suspect of any organization that uses a name that closely resembles a better-known entity.”