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AG Shuts Down Sham Charity PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 April 2010 02:33

The Coalition for Breast Cancer Cures, Inc. (CBCC), an alleged sham charity based on Long Island, has been shut down by the Attorney General’s Office after having reportedly defrauded more than $500,000 from generous donors while conducting no charitable activities whatsoever.

 

The operation is run by David and Mindy Winston of Great Neck and other members of the Winston family. The AG’s lawsuit alleges that the Winstons falsely claimed they were a charity, mailed phony invoices to trick potential donors, and repeatedly charged donors’ credit cards without authorization. The lawsuit charges the Winstons, their for-profit fundraising firm - The Resource Hub, Inc., d/b/a The Resource Center (“Resource Center”) - and CBCC with engaging in a scheme to defraud as well as violating New York State’s not-for-profit and charitable solicitation laws.

 

“The Winstons are exploiting the good intentions of New Yorkers who want to help in the fight against breast cancer,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This money could have helped countless individuals if the donations had actually gone to legitimate charities. New Yorkers are very generous and we want to make sure they have confidence in the charities they support.”

 

The Winstons  allegedly made the false claim that CBCC was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and included a fake “Non-Profit Tax-ID Number” on all correspondence with donors. Neither the Winstons nor their cohorts are authorized to solicit charitable contributions in New York. CBCC is not registered with the Attorney General as a charitable organization and the Resource Center is not registered with the Attorney General as a professional fundraiser, as required by law.

 

The lawsuit claims that the donations collected by CBCC or Resource Center are not used for breast cancer or for any other charitable cause, but are instead used for the Winstons’ personal expenses. The investigation uncovered expenditures of charitable funds for:

  • Over $3,700 in personal hotel and airfare expenses;
  • Over $5,000 at restaurants including Peter Luger Steakhouse, Caesars Palace Mesa Grill, and Gotham Bar and Grill;
  • Over $7,700 in retail purchases at stores such as Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, CVS, Loehmann’s, and Target;
  • Over $8,000 for sorority dues and other university expenses and fees;
  • Over $1,300 for a spring break travel package;
  • Thousands of dollars on groceries, Netflix, and cable television.

 

A temporary restraining order has been issued by Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Bucaria against CBCC stopping it from soliciting donations, collecting money, or destroying documents. The court order also freezes all assets.

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