SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra secured a stipulated judgment against the National Cancer Coalition (NCC), for filing false and misleading financial reports and for deceptive solicitations concerning its charitable programs. NCC’s stated mission is to prevent cancer and fund cancer treatment and research. A judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court issued the stipulated judgment to enjoin NCC’s deceptive practices and shut down the charity.
NCC’s misleading financial reporting scheme relied upon vastly overvalued Gifts-in-Kind donations by pharmaceuticals. Gifts-in-Kind donations are non-cash donations made to charities, such as clothing, prescription drugs, food, and medical supplies. NCC improperly used U.S. market prices to value pharmaceuticals that were shipped overseas and were restricted for international use only. The result was highly inflated revenue and program expense figures in its public financial reporting, which violated California law. In its solicitations to donors, NCC claimed to receive more than $130 million worth of medicine every year from pharmaceutical companies and nonprofits, which vastly overinflated the true size of its charitable donation program.
“This organization claimed to help cancer patients as a means to fraudulently solicit donations. Every dollar that goes into a deceptive charity is money that does not go towards those who are in need,” said Attorney General Becerra. "Let this serve as a stern warning – charities that intentionally mislead the public at the expense of others will be held accountable. The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting California's charity donors, beneficiaries and organizations from the harm caused by deceptive charities."
NCC falsely claimed in its donor solicitations that its purported Breast Cancer Relief Foundation (BCRF) “Special Project” provided numerous benefits to breast cancer victims. BCRF’s telemarketers falsely told potential donors that it provided “life-saving diagnostic tests, mammograms, and medicines to women who cannot afford them worldwide.” These statements were false and no mammograms or life-saving diagnostic tests were provided.
Charities are required, by law, to report their donations and program expenses which include information about how much support a charity received from the public or other sources, how the charity is spending the money, and what its assets and liabilities are.
In California, the Attorney General has primary responsibility for supervising charities and professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf. The California Department of Justice investigates the loss and misuse of charitable assets, fraudulent and misleading solicitation practices, improper reporting practices and other breaches of fiduciary duty. Charities are required to register and file annual financial reports with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. Donors are urged to research charities on the Attorney General’s website before making a decision to donate.