The Most cancers Fund of America, a Tennessee-based mostly nonprofit listed by the Tampa Bay Occasions as America’s second worst charity, has agreed to close down. The transfer is the results of a primary-of-its-type lawsuit filed by not solely the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC), however over fifty eight different regulation enforcement businesses from all 50 states.
The Most cancers Fund of America is the flagship “charity” run by James Reynolds, who for over twenty years has used accounting tips, misleading branding and advertising, and outright lies to cover how a lot cash the nonprofits make—and the way little goes to these it purports to assist.
Ostensibly, the Most cancers Fund of America, together with different spin-off charities run by members of the Reynolds household, rose tens of millions yearly with a purpose to present direct assist to households affected by most cancers. Companies have been inspired to donate garments, instruments, sanitary gadgets, and extra, which have been became present baskets of provides that may be despatched to these in want. This may be a noble aim and an excellent strategy, besides that solely lip service, if that, was given to the target. Between 2008 and 2012, Most cancers Fund of America raised over $187 million from donors throughout the nation. Of this cash, lower than $560,000 went to most cancers sufferers and their households. Most went to paying solicitation corporations to accumulate extra donations and the remaining went within the household’s pockets courtesy of exorbitant government salaries.
Because the lawsuit famous, this turns from mismanagement into outright fraud when the Reynolds started to make use of donor cash for blatantly private functions. This consists of journeys to Las Vegas and Disney World, fitness center memberships, subscriptions to courting web sites, automobiles, meals at Hooters, and live performance tickets.
The fraudulent packages donors thought they have been funding included “urgently wanted” ache treatment, transportation to chemotherapy appointments, offering groceries and utilities to sufferers, and grants for hospice care. These packages have been both grossly exaggerated—the ache drugs was simply over-the-counter ibuprofen—out merely nonexistent.
When the Fund bothered to behave on its mission assertion, it did so with minimal effort by sending seemingly random and barely helpful assortments of things. Its present baskets have been prepackaged by employees utilizing no matter donations have been out there and despatched out no matter a affected person’s age, gender, clothes measurement, or preferences. Typical contents included Prompt Breakfast drink, grownup-sized underwear and mattress pads, and what the charity described as “consolation gadgets”—a class that apparently meant pattern-sized soaps and different toiletries, snack desserts, paper plates and plastic cutlery, household DvDs, iPod covers, coloring books, clean greeting playing cards, and different miscellaneous gadgets.
These actions by the Fund didn’t go unnoticed by regulators. Since as early as 1992, the Most cancers Fund of America and different Reynolds nonprofits has been the topic of fines and lawsuits from numerous our bodies. In every occasion, the fines have been paid, minimal or no guilt was admitted, and the group carried on.
The lawsuit, which was launched in 2015, is the primary time each state has joined with the federal authorities to sue what it deems a fraudulent charity. The settlement settlement through which the Reynolds household shuts down their operations nonetheless requires the lawyer basic to log off, however hopefully means an finish to this household’s many years of deceit and diversion of cash that would have gone to rather more worthy causes.