N.Y. Attorney General: Massive Breast Cancer Charity Scam Hits Long Island

Says Officers Made Off With More Than $4 Million To Fuel Their Lifestyles

ST. JAMES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Where did the money go?

A Long Island breast cancer charity is being sued, accused of raising millions of dollars, most of which was never used to fight the disease, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

Breast cancer is a fear that haunts thousands of women, primarily, and their loved ones.

Now, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to close down a Long Island-based fundraising operation — the Coalition Against Breast Cancer — that has raised millions in donations for breast cancer research and support programs.

It was money that the head of the attorney general’s Charities Bureau said was really used to support the charity’s four officers.

“All of the individuals who claimed to have worked for this organization were fully employed elsewhere. These were their second jobs. It’s really just a cash machine to help fund their lifestyles,” Bureau Chief Jason Lillien said.

Upon hearing the news of the alleged fraud, legitimate breast cancer charities are appalled.

“They should not feel that because there’s one aberration like this — a horrible aberration — that other organization are like that, because we’re not. We’re not,” said Alice Yaker of NYC’s SHARE.

The attorney general gave Guzman an address for this alleged charity, but it turned out to be a home in St. James in Suffolk County. The directory lists Andrew Smith as the “officer of charity,” but no one was home.

The attorney general said even this outfit’s website is deceiving. He said over the last three years this so-called charity got more than $4 million from the public for mammograms, but only 11 women actually got them.

“The Coalition Against Breast Cancer is a sham charity that defrauded Long Islanders, New Yorkers and people from around the country,” Lillien said.

The alleged charity claims to be affiliated with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital; the attorney general said that’s not true.

Schneiderman said only one-half of 1 percent of what the Coalition Against Breast Cancer raised went to anything legitimate. Charity watchdogs said that figure should be at least 60 to 70 percent, if not more.

Disgusted by this? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Margaret Campise

    A Statement from the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition
    Concerning Long Island Breast Cancer Scams and Fraud
    From Margaret Campise, President of the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition

    The West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition (WIBCC) Board of Directors and Advisory Council want to express our deep concern over the actions of the St. James-based Coalition Against Breast Cancer. WIBCC has not ever had any affiliation with that organization, or any members of that organization in our almost 20 years. WIBCC takes pride in all of our volunteer efforts donating 100% of their time, and of what our supporters donate help us raise funds, giving it all back to our community. None of our Board Members or Advisory Council collects any salary or benefits of any sort derived from the funds donated or otherwise to the organization.
    All the funds we raise goes to our “Lend A Helping Hand” program providing services to the many women who are going through breast cancer, breast cancer awareness, education and research. All our records and tax returns are for public record.
    It is disheartening to read about a fraud which gives a bad name to honest and legitimate groups. However, it is good to know that donators should be careful to whom they donate. WIBCC hopes that all of our supporters will continue be faithful to our organization, and feel free to look at our public records, so can continue to assist women, men, and families who are affected by breast cancer.
    Margaret Campise
    West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition

  • Fower Lee

    I am a Chinese doctor, I was lucky to read this article and to be enlighten deeply. There’re many many cancer patients in China because of environmental pollution. But in China, cancer research is still very backward as very little government investment in this area. my blog is http://www.breast-cancer-patients.com. I would like to further exchange with everyone.

  • k mac

    My wife was just diagnosed. Please let me have 5 minutes with them in a room. Please.

  • CarolR

    I hope that CBS will report on how the Attorney General discovered this scam in the first place. Was there a whistle blower? Was the AG investigating charities and came upon it? Were there any signals to alert the public that this was a scam? Thank you for great news coverage.

  • Frank Rizzo

    SHAME SHAME SHAME. May fire, flood, and locust befall their famalies for many generations.
    Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

  • Janet Moskowitz

    shame on these people, now all the women and men in this scam god should punish with this disease and be in a stage that is incurable. (Justice)

  • Goria Lieske

    In my case is the assistant AG for the charities bureau in NYC the one who is stagnating my organization for a decade not releasing $300,000 in escrow even though we have been delivering housing and social servces to special needs population ever since Thomas Roziski the ex-interm commissioner for DHS took our contract away in 2001so that the real estate would falll into the hands of speculators for a price.. He was fired by the Bloomberg Administration because of malfeasance but his bad legacy continues to today. He tried to destroy our organization to cover his crime but he couldn’t, now is the asistant AG for the charities bureau who has stagnated us for a decade causing us horrendous damages, all to cover up for Rozinski’s wrongdoing. and to starve us this way so we dont get funds to continue our mision. We demand the charities bureuu to investigate and reverse the highway robbery of $5M in real state aretirement ssets of the best homeless shelters for women and children and other anomalies you will be able to read iit in our website very soon. We need a honest, genuine charities burueau chief that we can trust to bring a $25M project in the country for the children victims of psychiatry,

    • Dale Auburn

      If that is truly the case, then you should [1] find a good pro bono lawyer and [2] seek broad media coverage for your story.

  • badman

    the web site for this fake charity is still up – donation form available and all.

  • Paul

    I’m finished with charitable donation to organizations! I’ll not help pay for one more
    vacation,car, or office event. Fraud is ubiquitous!! I screen all calls,and all mailings
    from any of these types of organizations go straight to the trash!

    • Doreen C.

      Punishing legitimate charities would only hurt everyone…stick with the large name organizations, and/or ones that welcome forensic accounting of their books…there are many: PETA, ASPCA, LGFB, etc.

  • timotheus

    To be sure one is donating to a worthy cause and not a scam, donors should do a bit of homework and refuse to fork over their cash without knowing something about the group making the pitch. I applaud the AG for going after them as this sort of crime damages legitimate philanthropic work. There should be more supervision and monitoring of all non-profit groups precisely to stop these hustles at a much earlier stage. How can they have amassed $4 million without providing any real services? I hope the prosecution is successful and that the judge gives them a long vacation behind bars.


      How about getting all of their possessions back from them, reselling them and donating it for real this time to honorable charities….??????

      They go to jail for less then a year and they’re happy they get to keep everything all their mansions, cars, etc…..wow ….how stupid is government…

  • Barry Levine

    This is the exact reason that I do not give any money to anybody when they present all kinds of letters, badges, shields that they are raising money for “charity”.

    The only real charity that I give to is to a wino who I see toss his empty bottle in the garbage, not out in the road, and then ask if I can spare a quarter. I do not give him a quarter but I go into the liquer store with him and buy him another bottle of white lightning because I also would like to drink but cannot hold my liquer.

  • Frank Rizzo

    Welcome to LAWNG GILAND. Scam center of America

  • Linda

    From what I see, all charities are the same. The US citizens have given billions for Haiti and other countries and the money has never gotten there to help. No one is held accountable any more, its all a scam.

  • VMS

    I hope to see some indictments pretty soon including having the IRS and NYS Taxation come in to investigate whether they declared the stolen money as income (which I am sure they did not). Stealing charity money is the lowest of low. Such theft also hurts other charities.

    60-70 percent of donations to a charity going to the charitable purpose is abysmal performance. The number should be over 80 and preferably over 90%.

    The charity creator should not have any compensated financial interest in the charity; his or her time should be charitable.

    The AG should require all charitable organizations to post their certified finances on the web so that the giving public can see where their money is actually going.

    • Dale Auburn

      You realize, of course, that even the best charities DO have legitimate expenses outside of program activities. Things like rent, office supplies, salaries, and audits by CPA’s cost money and have to be paid for.

      • A,J.Klatt

        Of course they do, The obvious problem here is exactly how much is
        “legitimate expenses” . one half of one percent to the actual”said” beneficiary!!!!
        Come on Dale Auburn you can’t be defending them. This is deceitful to any and all who have contributed. As a B.C. survivor I want research to be ongoing and support those organizations for my children and grandchildren, this will impact the true research programs who reach out to the public for funds . Unfortunately it will be the “bad apple in the bunch” syndrome. Sad Sad Sad for the perpetrators and for those who thought they were helping.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live