Wisconsin DOJ Shuts Down two National Cancer Charities who Stole $75 Million from Donors

Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and agencies from all 50 states, have obtained a permanent injunction to dissolve two nationwide fraudulent cancer charities and ban their president from profiting from any charity fundraising in the future under a settlement filed in court Wednesday according to a press release from the AG on Wednesday.

Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CFA), Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS), and their leader, James Reynolds, Sr., agreed to settle charges that CFA and CSS claimed to help cancer patients, but instead, spent the overwhelming majority of donations on their operators, families and friends, and fundraisers.

“Donors to charitable organizations must be confident that their funds are solicited honestly and used for the promised charitable purposes,” said Attorney General Schimel. “We will not sit idly by while scammers defraud well-meaning consumers of their hard-earned dollars and deprive legitimate charities of much needed support.”

The agencies’ complaint, filed in May 2015, targeted four fraudulent charities run by Reynolds and his family members that allegedly bilked more than $187 million from donors. CFA and CSS were responsible for more than $75 million of that amount. The other two sham charities settled in May 2015. The settlement announced Wednesday concludes the largest joint enforcement action ever undertaken by the FTC and state charity regulators.

Under the settlement order, CFA and CSS will be permanently closed and their assets liquidated. 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. He is also prohibited from making misrepresentations about goods or services, and violating the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and state laws.

The order imposes a judgment against CFA, CSS, and Reynolds, jointly and severally, of $75,825,653, the amount consumers donated to CFA and CSS between 2008 and 2012. 

The Wisconsin effort was led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit.

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