NEW YORK – New York's attorney general filed a lawsuit Tuesday to shut down a phony breast cancer charity whose directors allegedly spent nearly all of the $9.1 million it raised over the past five years on exorbitant salaries and personal purchases.
The Long Island-based Coalition Against Breast Cancer (CABC) solicited $9.1 million from the public over the past five years. Almost all of it was spent on fundraiser fees, salaries and benefits packages and personal purchases, such as cell phones and television and internet services, according to an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Over the past five years, the organization spent less than four percent of all donations on any of its alleged charitable programs. In 2008, for example, CABC raised over $1.4 million but spent just $374 on mammograms. The group funded mammograms for 11 women over the last three years, despite having raised more than $4 million, the investigation found.
Two of the organization's three directors paid themselves more than $550,000 in combined salaries from 2005 to 2009, another $150,000 in retirement accounts and dental and medical benefits that totaled at least $9,000 per year.
The suit charges CABC and its directors -- Andrew Smith, Debra Koppelman and Patricia Scott -- with engaging in a scheme to defraud and violating New York's not-for-profit and charitable solicitation laws. Those charges were also leveled against CABC's principal outside fundraiser, Campaign Center, and its owner, Garrett Morgan.
CABC's directors were also charged with failing to comply with their fiduciary duties.