NY Attorney General's office recovers over $640K donated to fake breast cancer charities

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York Attorney General's office seized over half a million dollars from charity con artists.

On Wednesday Letitia James announced that the charities bureau was able to take back more than $640,000 in money given to fraudulent charities claiming to be breast cancer support foundations.

"Our charities bureau has an initiative called operation bottom feeder and that's what they are - bottom feeders," James said.

The money that was recovered from the fake organizations will be donated to legitimate charities and foundations in Long Island and the five boroughs to provide mammograms, treatment, and support to women battling breast cancer.

Some of these organizations work to help women get diagnosed earlier and provide support during the process.

"We provide transportation, we provide prepared meals, we take dogs for walks after surgery if you can't take your dog for a walk or you can't take the garbage out," survivor and program member Terry Prag said.

This money will also continue outreach to get women checked to get them low-cost or even free mammograms and treatment.
"There are so many resources that are providing free and low-cost screenings not just for mammograms but for all cancer screenings," said Natasha Coleman of the American Cancer Society.

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WSYX reporter Myles Harris was in the field in Columbus, Ohio, reporting Tuesday when his mom happened to drive by.

And while this money will be a big help for women in need of support the attorney general says this win is also personal.

"My mother had breast cancer and she has passed," James said. "And so it was important for me to do this press conference, because its really critically important that we use this money to lift up New Yorkers dealing with cancer and to save their lives."

There are several ways you can verify a charity before donating to them.

The attorney general's charities bureau has a registry of legitimate organizations on their website along with tips for how to spot a scam.

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