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Charity Scams: Giver, Beware!

The Record has received many calls regarding the organization, Coalition for Breast Cancer Cures, from readers wondering if that was the same group highlighted in a February 5, 2010 article entitled Giving to Charity or Big Business? Chumming for Dollars.

It was not. We had researched and reported on another group calling itself, Coalition Against Breast Cancer, Inc. The article stated, “Although there may be more than one such organization on Long Island that trades on the breast cancer pitch and uses telemarketers, the group that has surfaced most often is the ‘Coalition Against Breast Cancer, Inc’. (CABC)  which filed for not-for-profit status in 1995.”

Since 1995, CABC has raised millions of dollars with only a fraction being allocated for assistance to women with breast cancer. The lion’s share of the money goes to telemarketing firms and to the officers of CABC, Inc. Of the money allocated, it would take a forensic audit to determine if the money actually benefited women with breast cancer.

However, it is noteworthy to know that one of the telemarketing firms used by CABC is owned by the Winston family of Great Neck whose assets have been frozen and who have been accused by the attorney general’s office of running the “charity,” Coalition for Breast Cancer Cures, in which the Winstons are charged with being the sole recipients of the public’s generosity.

We trust that New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is using the broad investigative powers of his office to determine if CABC, Inc. can be charged with charity fraud as well. Obviously, if an investigation is underway his office cannot comment.

In the meantime, honest, good-hearted, generous people have a hard time really believing that people would hide behind noble causes to line their own pockets. Believe it. Ask a telemarketer, politely and firmly to take you off their calling list and just say, “I never make contributions over the phone.” The person on the other end is no more than a stranger asking for your money and your credit card information.

When we talked with fraud investigative experts while researching the original article, we learned that if you do contribute on the phone, you are put on what is called a “sucker” list and your name and phone number will be sold to other telemarketing firms.

Take the time to make sure that the dollars you give are going to legitimate groups.

And speaking of legitimate groups, the Great Neck Coalition Against Breast Cancer headed up by Laura Weinberg is in no way affiliated with either group named above. We have highlighted our local coalition many times in this paper for its excellent work and real contributions to women and families at a time of crisis. Other legitimate local and state breast cancer groups include the Manhasset BC Coalition, the Huntington BC Coalition, the West Islip BC Coalition, the Babylon BC Coalition and the Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline to name a few.

(Editor’s note: The entire article regarding CABC, Inc. is available online at Just search for the title.)