Among the ranks of scams, running a fake charity falls under the heading of “soulless.” That’s why it’s both dismaying and hopeful to hear that the Attorney General for the state of New York has, at least temporarily, put a stop to an organization it claims raised more than $500,000 under false pretenses.
In the lawsuit filed by the AG’s office, it’s alleged that a charity calling itself the Coalition for Breast Cancer Cures raised more than a half-million dollars by telling donors that their money would go toward fighting breast cancer. Instead, claims the AG, that money was spent by the CBCC’s administrator’s on “luxury shopping, travel, restaurants, and other personal living expenses.”
According to the Attorney General’s investigation, donated money was spent by CBCC on some of the following expenses:
* Over $3,700 in personal hotel and airfare expenses;
* Over $5,000 at restaurants including Peter Luger Steakhouse, Caesars Palace Mesa Grill, and Gotham Bar and Grill;
* Over $7,700 in retail purchases at stores such as Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, CVS, Loehmann’s, and Target;
* Over $8,000 for sorority dues and other university expenses and fees;
* Over $1,300 for a spring break travel package;
* Thousands of dollars on groceries, Netflix, and cable television.
Additionally, the AG alleges that the CBCC’s owners “mailed phony pledge invoices and reminder notices to trick people into thinking they had made pledges.” They are also accused of using donors’ credit card info to “make multiple unauthorized charges following an initial donation, even after complaints and demands that charges be reversed.”
The CBCC and its owners have been charged with engaging in a scheme to defraud along with violating New York State’s not-for-profit and charitable solicitation laws. A temporary restraining order has been issued that stops CBCC from soliciting donations, collecting money, or destroying documents.
Says Attorney General (and presumed gubernatorial candidate) Andrew Cuomo:
This money could have helped countless individuals if the donations had actually gone to legitimate charities. New Yorkers are very generous and we want to make sure they have confidence in the charities they support.