This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020
Advertisement

Family raised $187 million for cancer research - "then spent it on cars and cruises"

The charities “operated as personal fiefdoms” according to US authorities.

Image: Shutterstock/TaraPatta

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 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 Senior, 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.

The charities hired telemarketers to collect $20 donations from people across the country, telling consumers that they provided financial aid and other support to cancer patients, including pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy visits and hospice care.

But little money made it to cancer patients, as the groups “operated as personal fiefdoms characterised by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation” with none of the controls used by bona-fide charities, the FTC said Tuesday.

Anyone who donated money to these groups shouldn’t expect a refund any time soon.

While litigation against Reynolds Sr. and the Cancer Fund of America is ongoing, the settlement agreements with Reynolds’ son, ex-wife and a long-time associate of the family — Kyle Effler — notes that much of the money has already been spent. The agreement bans the three from fundraising and shuttered their organisations.

“The money is mostly gone,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. Rich declined to say whether a separate criminal investigation might be under way, noting only that the regulatory agency doesn’t have that authority.

None of the groups returned phone calls and emails asking for comment. Attempts to reach family members at home by telephone were unsuccessful.

Read: Businesses beware: An invoice scam is defrauding Irish companies

Read: Australian border control investigates Irish name visa fraud

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (27)