Home ‘Virginians are generous’: FTC, 10 states sue Women’s Cancer Fund, operator
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‘Virginians are generous’: FTC, 10 states sue Women’s Cancer Fund, operator

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Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, the Federal Trade Commission and nine other states are suing sham charity Cancer Recovery Foundation International, also known as Women’s Cancer Fund, and its operator, Gregory B. Anderson.

The Cancer Fund and Anderson are accused of raising more than $18 million by deceiving generous donors who sought to offer financial support to women battling cancer and their families. Only one percent of financial support went to cancer patients.

In a complaint filed in federal court, Miyares and partners allege that, from 2017 to 2022, Women’s Cancer Fund collected more than $18 million from donors. The sham charity claimed that it would use the donated funds to help women who were undergoing treatment for cancer and their families pay for basic needs. Instead, the complaint charges, only about a penny of every dollar donated went to provide such support, while the overwhelming majority went to pay for-profit fundraisers and Anderson.

“Virginians are generous people. Unfortunately, there are bad actors who take advantage of hardworking Virginians’ generosity. In the case of Cancer Recovery Foundation International, solicitors told Virginians and many other Americans that their donations would help cancer survivors and their families, but that money was instead used for their own personal gain. We join the FTC along with the other states in this lawsuit to right the wrongs of this sham charity,” Miyares said.

According to the complaint, fundraisers for Women’s Cancer Fund told prospective donors that their gifts would “help save lives” and “directly help patients with basic living expenses.” But the sham charity’s tax filings and records tell a different story, the complaint alleges.

While Women’s Cancer Fund collected $18 million from tens of thousands of donors between 2017 and 2022, it only spent $194,809 on financial support to cancer patients. At the same time, it paid Anderson $775,139 – nearly four times as much as Women’s Cancer Fund collectively gave to all the cancer patients it supported. In addition to his salary, Anderson also used donated funds for various costly expenses, such as hotels and travel. Meanwhile Women’s Cancer Fund gave the vast majority of the funds it collected from donors, about 85 percent, to for-profit fundraisers that Anderson hired to make deceptive pitches on behalf of the sham charity.

According to the complaint, in addition to using deceptive phone solicitation pitches, Women’s Cancer Fund also used deceptive solicitation letters, often signed by Anderson. One such letter stated: “While other organizations rightfully invest millions of dollars in cancer research to find a cure for patients in the future, we help patients keep a roof over their head and the lights on so they can survive cancer today.”

In 2021, Virginia and the FTC sued two of the fundraising companies, Associated Community Services and Directele, hired by Women’s Cancer Fund for deceptive fundraising. The complaint in the latest action alleges that those enforcement actions did not deter Anderson, who went on to hire other fundraisers to make similar deceptive claims on behalf of Women’s Cancer Fund.

The complaint alleges that Women’s Cancer Fund and Anderson violated the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and state consumer protection laws.

Miyares was joined by the FTC and the attorneys general and/or secretaries of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.

Consumers looking for more information about how to donate safely and avoid charity scams can find it on the FTC’s website. Virginians looking for more information about consumer protection and tips for keeping themselves and their loved ones safe can visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competitionstop deceptive and unfair business practices and scams, and educate consumers. Report fraud, scams, or bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Get consumer advice at consumer.ftc.gov. Also, follow the FTC on social mediasubscribe to press releases, and read the FTC’s blogs.

Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Miyares’ Consumer Protection Section:

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.