There are evil people in this world. Then there are the people who ran the 'Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation' (BCSF).
The seven year old organization took in millions of dollars in the name of breast cancer. They misled their donors with a made up system of medical services for breast cancer patients, making a few small donations to clinics and taking the rest of the money for themselves.
How much money, exactly, did they take? 92 cents of every dollar. So, basically, all of it.
Thankfully, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, went after this group and exposed them as the frauds that they are. The office of the Attorney General has a program named 'Operation Bottomfeeder" that targets charities that act unscrupulously, with individuals profiting from the generosity of others.
BCSF used marketing materials promoting fictional accounts of doctor - patient interactions, forums for breast cancer survivors, and pharmaceutical programs – with the intent to give an impression that BCSF was a medical facility.
What the investigation found was that BCSF “had no medical staff, performed no medical services, had no real office, and provided no direct value to breast cancer patients or those at risk of developing breast cancer,” according to Schneiderman. It was a sham charity run by its primary outside fundraiser, Mark Gelvan, to financially benefit himself, his companies, and his business associates.
The settlement with BCSF and its President and founder, Dr. Yulius Poplyansky, includes the shutting down of all of BCSF's operations and the payment of $350,000 to legitimate breast cancer organizations.
“There are few things more galling than pretending to help cancer patients, when you’re really just lining your own pockets. But that’s exactly what those behind the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation did – siphoning millions in profits for themselves and sending less than four cents of every dollar raised to medical clinics,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As our Operation Bottomfeeder has shown, too often these shell charities exploit popular causes to enrich professional fundraisers. I’m committed to using the full power of my office to stop those who take advantage of people’s generosity to make a quick buck.”
So, we say good riddance to BCSF. It's difficult to imagine people taking advantage of the generosity of others and even harder to imagine making up fake medical services for cancer patients. It's insulting to their donors, and it's disrespectful to anyone who has, has had, or will have breast cancer.
Honestly, $350,000 seems too soft of a punishment for people with no morals who made millions off of this scam. Like taking away dessert from a child who burnt the house down.
But, a silver lining is that the organization is now shuttered. So, kudos to Eric Schneiderman for going after these people, shutting them down and removing these predators from the world of charitable giving.