Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday filed a complaint seeking to shut down a Florida charity falsely claiming to use charitable donations to provide financial support to families of firefighters lost in the line of duty, according to a press release.
Community Charity Advancement, Inc. (CCAI) also allegedly falsely claims to use donations to provide assistance to breast cancer research organizations and breast cancer patients, but in some instances uses donations for different purposes.
A request for comment was left with a person answering the number listed for CCAI’s Pompano Beach office.
According to the complaint, CCAI’s deceptive acts and practices mislead generous donors into contributing to CCAI instead of the many legitimate charitable organizations operating bona fide programs that support breast cancer research, breast cancer and fire victims, as well as firefighters.
“It is absolutely abhorrent to exploit families of fallen firefighters and breast cancer patients to steal from generous Floridians,” Bondi said in a statement.
“Charity scams prey on people’s goodwill and discourage people from giving,” she added. “Furthermore, every dollar given to a deceptive charity is a dollar that does not go to those in need. This is an outrageous ploy and those responsible will be held accountable.”
The complaint also alleges that CCAI falsely represents having a partnership with bona fide cancer research and support organizations to deceptively lend legitimacy to the company’s activities.
Some of these organizations who are not in partnership with CCAI, despite the company’s claims, include the University of Florida, Johns Hopkins and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
During the past four years, CCAI reported raising more than $40 million in donations through the fundraising efforts of various fictitious names.
In 2014, CCAI reported raising more than $10 million in donations, which CCAI provided just $49,000, or half of one penny, in cash contributions to breast cancer research organizations.
In that same year, CCAI diverted half a million dollars in donations meant to support breast cancer research or assist patients to pay fundraisers and other vendors for services connected to its firefighter-related activities. Despite CCAI’s representations, CCAI made no financial donations during the past three years to support families of firefighters who passed away in the line of duty.
Consumers who donated to CCAI can file a complaint with Bondi’s office by clicking here.