Participants in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast...

Participants in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in October at Jones Beach State Park. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Three Long Island nonprofits that help breast cancer patients are among similar groups tapped to receive part of more than $644,000 in settlement funds from bogus charities, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The Island recipients — The Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition, West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition and Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer, will meet with Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday in a ceremony to receive the funds.

"We are very, very excited," said Beverly Flaherty, office manager and volunteer coordinator at the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition, of the $35,000 set aside for her organization.

The funds come from two separate settlements with bogus breast cancer charities investigated by the attorney general's office, including one linked to a Lindenhurst telemarketing firm sued in 2011 for violating the state's not-for-profit and charitable fundraising laws.

What to know

  • New York State Attorney General Letitia James is providing more than $644,000 to several nonprofits that help breast cancer patients — money from settlements with bogus charities that ripped off donors.
  • Long Island recipients include the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition, the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition and the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer.
  • The groups will use the funds to provide screenings such as mammograms as well as range of services for women battling breast cancer.

Flaherty said the group will use the money for its Lend a Helping Hand program, which assists breast cancer patients with everything from providing prepared meals to transportation for treatments and even house cleaning.

"We have had to cancel our biggest fundraiser three years in a row because of COVID," she said, adding the money will allow them to continue assisting families in Babylon Township.

The West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition will get $30,000 from the settlement and the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer is set to receive $40,000.

Two national groups will receive the rest of the settlement: $314,000 to the American Cancer Society and $225,000 to Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

The American Cancer Society said it will use the funds to focus on women in high poverty areas who have missed annual breast cancer screenings — vital to early detection and treatment.

Natasha Coleman, senior director of Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships at the American Cancer Society, said the organization will work with local health systems nationwide and federally qualified health centers to reach women who have missed screenings as well as those who've never had one.

"We know the impact of COVID has been huge," Coleman said. "In 2020, most women had to cancel or postpone their screening appointments … some of these women may have not gotten a mammogram in a year or two before that. Screening rates have declined across the country."

About half of the settlement money comes as a result of a 2011 lawsuit filed by then-Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman against Lindenhurst-based Campaign Center Inc., its principal, Garrett Morgan, and the Coalition Against Breast Cancer, described as a sham charity. The state alleged the charity made false claims about the services it provided and spent almost no money raised on breast cancer-related programs. Despite raising millions, the charity provided just 40 mammograms to women over a 7-year period, according to the state.

In 2013, Campaign Center was ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution. A decision from a Suffolk County judge outlined some of the findings of the attorney general’s investigation, including that Campaign Center Inc. was paid $3.9 million of the $4.9 million it raised on behalf of the Coalition Against Breast Cancer between 2005 and 2011.

Morgan did not pay the judgment and the attorney general's office asked the court to appoint a receiver to collect or sell his property. In 2021, the receiver delivered $303,747 to the attorney general's office, taken from the sale of four properties located in Lindenhurst and West Islip.

A lawyer for Morgan declined to comment in an email to Newsday on Tuesday.

The other funds come from a settlement with the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, which was portrayed as a medical center for breast cancer patients. The attorney general’s office described it as "a shell organization funneling donations to an outside fundraiser which pocketed 92 cents of every dollar donated." They turned over $300,000 in restitution along with another $40,000 from its auditors, according to state officials.

The organization was described as national but the fundraiser was based in New Jersey.

"It is unconscionable that organizations and telemarketers preyed on the public’s generosity and deprived breast cancer patients of vital support during a time of tremendous physical, mental and emotional distress," James said in a statement. "I am honored to return these funds to the people and organizations that need them most."

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