Accused of defrauding donors who believed all their money would assist cancer patients, two national charities have agreed to a $75.8 million settlement with state and federal authorities.


That's the amount people had donated to Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services between 2008 and 2012. Instead, the organization officials spent the money on cruises, dating website memberships and concert tickets, a federal lawsuit alleged.

As part of the settlement, the charities have been dissolved and their former president is banned from any charitable solicitation in the future.

"Today I'm pleased to stand with our state and federal partners in announcing this settlement, which resolves allegations of some incredibly callous, deceitful and greed-driven conduct," state Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy said Wednesday in a news release.

Altogether, according to the lawsuit, the charities took in $187 million from donors across the country, including more than $6 million in New Jersey. The individual defendants, their families, friends and professional fundraisers often received 85 percent or more of every contribution, the lawsuit alleged.

Instead of helping provide pain medication to suffering children or transport cancer patients to chemotherapy appointments, the sham charities would spend charitable donations on perks for a small clique of family and friends.

Part of the judgment against Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services will be satisfied through liquidation of their assets.

All 50 states, along with the Federal Trade Commission and Washington, D.C., took part in the civil action against the charities.

Two other bogus cancer charities included in the original complaint — Children's Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society — closed last year as part of a settlement.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.