boob alert: another bogus breast cancer charity – breast cancer prevention fund

Here it is the hottest day in recent memory, and I am flashing up a storm anyway today, so hot feels extra hot to me.

Yes, it is 100 degrees down from I don’t want to think about it, and it is dinner time.  The phone rings.

BCPF 412-228-4509 is what the caller ID says when I answer.

As soon as I said “hello”, I knew what the call was:  another bogus breast cancer charity call.

Janet calling me from a phone solicitor for Breast Cancer Prevention Fund.  She was Polly Perky telling me how they were calling all Pennsylvania residents and they were helping women get mammograms and raise awareness.  According to her, Pennsylvania had lost all their funding.  Her caller ID showed a Pittsburgh area code.  Only she was calling from Washington State.  From a company I now know is owned by the same man who owns this bogus breast cancer charity!

James Paton, your troll called the wrong survivor.

I asked her how many cents on the dollar actually went to programs.  She kept reading her script.

I made a crack about calls at dinner time, and she said that dinner time was at different times everywhere.

Really?

I asked her again how many cents on the dollar actually went to programs.    And where they were located.

She said Washington State.

Then she said 10 to 12 cents.  I asked if that is what the phone solicitors made or what the charity retained.

No answer.

“I’ll send you a pledge card” she says.

Then she got it.  Me in all my Tamoxifen, hot flashing, survivor’s glory.

I told her how dare she call a survivor on a cold call for a bogus charity asking for money.

I told her to put me on the do not call list (this is the 4th or 5th time they have called incidentally.)

Now look what I found on KomoNews.com while I had this woman on the phone – it was like they were listening to my phone call, only this article is months old:

Conflict of interest between Everett charity, telemarketing co.

                            By Tracy VedderPublished:  Nov 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM PDTLast Updated: Nov 11, 2011 at 12:41 AM PDT

EVERETT, Wash. — There’s no question that breast cancer touches millions. Thousands walk for a cure. An entire month is devoted to breast cancer awareness.

So when Legacy Telemarketing of Everett raises money for the Breast Cancer Prevention Fund, also of Everett, the plea for money inspires people to give.

Insiders with the telemarketer told the Problem Solvers they typically start off by asking for a donation of $180. They tell prospective donors that $180 would help two women, and that they believe the money is for just one thing: “for women to get mammograms.”

That plea touches people like Carl Hu, whose wife and sister both fought hard to survive the disease.

“That one-year period was definitely a very trying time,” he said, remembering their battles.

Well-aware of the value of mammograms, Hu was ready to donate until he took a closer look at the charity.
“What I found was just nothing short of shocking,” he said.

The Breast Cancer Prevention Fund, or the BCPF, was founded in 2004 by James Paton. And that same James Paton is also listed in records from the secretary of state’s office as the owner of Legacy Telemarketing.

“That sounded some huge alarm bells,” said Hu.

According to documents obtained by the Problem Solvers, Legacy and BCPF share the same post office box and the same storefront in Everett.  And BCPF has been Legacy’s only nonprofit client since 2007.  The relationship has made millions.

“It sounded like a huge conflict of interest when the president of the charity is employing his own telemarketing company,” said Hu.

Hu said the Legacy telemarketer was clear about where his donation would go: “During the phone call, they assured me all the money would go to pay for mammograms.”

That’s what two Legacy employees, one past and one current, confirm they were told to say. One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Problem Solvers she was told to say “that we’re raising money so that uninsured women can receive mammograms.”

And April Calf-Robe, who no longer works for Legacy, said she was told to say “that we were raising money to help women in their area get mammograms.”

And BCPF has paid for mammograms. According to the charity’s IRS filings, since 2005, BCPF has paid out almost $3.5 million for mammograms for uninsured women. But over that same period, the charity, through Legacy telemarketing, raised nearly $17.5 million. After expenses, the charity has paid Legacy nearly $10.5 million. (See IRS filings: Part 1/Part 2) …At the only address for BCPF and Legacy Telemarketing, no one wanted to explain where that $10.5 million went.  When the Problem Solvers asked for anyone who could answer questions about BCPF, the staff members said no one at the location could do so. And when we asked to speak to Jim Paton, manager Jeff Cunningham told KOMO News, “He doesn’t particularly work out of this office,” then asked us to leave.

Though Paton owns three businesses including Legacy, his only other address is a waterfront home on the south end of Lopez Island. He purchased the home for $1.5 million three years ago and continues to improve it. He is currently adding a large additional garage structure.

The Problem Solvers went to his island home and asked to speak with him. A woman there said Paton was in Everett. But we found the Legacy headquarters locked up, reporting telephone and computer problems. We found one of the cars registered to Paton parked out back, but no one would come to the door.

When we finally reached Paton by phone, he refused to disclose how much money he makes from Legacy, refused to sit down for an interview and continues to refuse to answer e-mailed questions sent to him at his request.

“Certainly it’s a conflict of interest,” said certified public account Ed Clark. The Problem Solvers asked the CPA firm of Clark, Raymond and Co. to review BCPF and Legacy’s documents. Comparing IRS and state filings, Clark, the firm’s owner, said it appears Paton is not being upfront and disclosing for donors and regulators how much money, if any, he’s making from Legacy.

“I think the Internal Revenue Service would be very interested in looking at this arrangement,” he said.

Legacy’s phone solicitor Perky Janet  gave me a phone number 1-877-810-5921 “program services”.

She gave me a web address www.breastcancerpreventionfund.org .  The website is (what a shocker) somewhat uninformative.

I also checked out what the Better Business Bureau had to say.  As soon as I saw “did not disclose” I had read enough.

And does Guidestar seem entralled?  Not really.  Guidestar put a clue to their financials on their website:

And under “Personal Reviews” Guidestar has like FIVE pages of negative comments about this “charity”:

SCAM ALERT:

May 9, 2012

    Scam alert. http://everett.komonews.com/news/business/688849-conflict-interest-between-everett-charity-telemarketing-com Raised $17.5 million, paid himself $10.5 million, gave out $3.5 million

March 15, 2012

    If organization is legitimate why don’t they send their information to the BBB and let them give the organization a thorough review. The lady I talked to on the phone lied to me and said 90% went to women to get mammagrams. Shame on you for scamming your fellow women. Give to an organization where the donations will really help those in need.
Don’t be fooled by this scam – over $17M in donations but only $3.5M for mammograms while Legacy Telemarketing, owned by BCPF’s president is paid over $10M!  See http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/133675028.html.
January 9, 2012
    I worked for Legacy Telemarketing and was one of those people calling people asking them if they could afford to donate $190 for 2 women to get mammorgrams. I read from a script that said ” It appears the women in your area have lost their local funding for mammograms. Breast Cancer Prevention FUnd provides these women with free mammograms. One mammogram cost $95 can you donate $190 to help 2 women get mammograms?”…I only lasted a few days doing this mind numbing kind of work but I am so glad i quit now that I heard that the BCPF is owned by the man who owns LEgacy Telemarketing…he was hiring us to get money FOR HIS profit. Only 3 million went to women and mammograms…he made $17 million…WHERE DID THE OTHER 14 MILLION DOLLARS GO MR. STAFFORD? He has a million dollar home on Lopez Island…what a horrible person to do this.

 

Moral of the story?  The Breast Cancer Prevention Fund is just as bad, if not worse that The Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation.  And just like the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, they have been outed by the media.

Screw them and the horse they rode in on.  Hang up on them.  Report them to your state’s Attorney General’s Office as they ALL have an office within their offices that deal with charities and non-profits.

By all means give to charity, but the legitimate ones don’t call you like this. Check your charities out.  If the shoe doesn’t fit, again, it is o.k. to say “no”.

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About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
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17 Responses to boob alert: another bogus breast cancer charity – breast cancer prevention fund

  1. Despicable. Thanks for the exposé…again!

  2. This is such a great shame – imagine those poor people who contribute while thinking they’re helping women detect cancer. Good for you in sharing this story.

  3. Jai says:

    Thank You for posting this because I had them send me a card in the mail but decided to google them before a sent in my donation. So glad I did, and shame on this company for using breast cancer as an emotional draw, so sickening!

  4. Daria Sockey says:

    I was just about to send off a check to this organization since their call was persuasive, but something about it made me hesitate. I did a search and came up with this post, nestled amidst half a dozen hits for their own website. Thank you so much.

  5. ERX says:

    It appears this fraudulent charity continues to do business. The BCPF called me in July, 2012 and sent a request for donation. The return address for the donation goes to:

    Breast Cancer Prevention Fund
    211 South Street #515
    Philadelphia PA, 19147.

    Looking that address up, it appears to be a UPS store that provides mailbox services.
    http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/3633/
    So these people would appear to be attempting to go underground and continue exploiting the unsuspecting public.

    Would you be able to suggest some legitimate organizations that I could make a donation to?

  6. Pingback: do not call means what exactly? | chestercountyramblings

  7. Stop The BCPF Scam! says:

    Thanks for your blog. I live in WA state and uncovered this fraudulent charity 2 years ago and brought it to the attention of the WA Attorney General and KOMO TV. After KOMO ran their investigative report which exposed how BCPF is a front for Legacy Telemarketing which is also owned by BCPF founder James Paton and which keeps 80% of all donations, I’m sure they took a major hit to their donations on the west coast (WA, CA). That’s probably why they are expanding by calling states on the east coast where it’s less likely they’ve heard of the BCPF scam. The best thing to do is exactly what you’ve done in your blog – LET OTHERS KNOW SO THEY WON’T BE FOOLED. Also file a complaint with your state attorney general and get a major TV station and/or newspaper to run a story like KOMO did. James Paton has made himself a millionaire many times over through this shameful scam – don’t let it spread, help put a stop to it now! If you want to warn others by sharing the KOMO investigative report with others, send this link: http://www.breastcancerpreventionfund.com

  8. ashamed former employee says:

    FYI Legacy also makes calls for American Red Cross asking for donations to local chapters…there were few picked to make those calls but usually right after a natural disaster (katrina, wild fires, etc) Former Floor Manager was picked up at Legacy for a cold case murder and is now in Prison…so ya … employees are all in the dark about whats really going on as much as donors are due to mr patton’s charismatic, heartwarming and energetic speeches he would have to inspire everyone to help save lives. If the employees needed a mammogram …good luck Sorry to all who gave money with those women in your hearts and prayers. Always give directly is my advice

  9. ashamed former employee says:

    😦

  10. Diane says:

    Thank you for doing this story, and reprinting the KOMO story. I have contributed to this fund in the past so was disappointed to learn the truth about them, but relieved they have been exposed so I can quit sending money to them and send it to a real charity.

  11. Former Employee says:

    Jim Paton and his employees at Legacy Telemarketing are still currently calling “past supporters” in PA, TX, CA, and WA. Raising funds for The Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation while less than 10% goes to actually fund the mammograms.

  12. Justice is a dish best served cold - BCPF RIP says:

    Thanks to the efforts of many including this blog to shut down this bogus breast cancer charity, I’m happy to report that the IRS has done just this by revoking BCPF’s 501-c(3) tax exempt status. In addition, the WA State Attorney General served a consent decree on both BCPF and telemarketer LTC, owned by BCPF founder Jim Paton, ordering them to cease and desist all fundraising operations and pay a $560,000 fine. This forced BCPF to declare bankruptcy last year while it still had over $400,000 in the bank. The WA Attorney General has since filed a claim for $20.2 Million in bankruptcy court claiming that all of the donations were obtained through fraudulent means. Watch this report from KOMO TV Seattle for the sordid details: http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/Bankrupt-Charity-259139541.html. You’ll want to click on the link for the IRS audit report to see the full extent of the trouble that BCPF’s founder is in since this is one of the largest and most blatant cases of charity tax fraud in US history. Thanks to the efforts of one donor who blew the whistle, there is one less fraudulent charity and telemarketer out there. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this story ends with the authorities successfully recovering much of the $20M that was donated for mammograms to be put back to use for that purpose and not just end up in the IRS coffers.

  13. anonymous sad to admit says:

    Hello,

    I remain anonymous because in all honesty I am ashamed to admit I was so desperate for a job I worked for this company as long as I did.I worked for this ororganization in 2007 when I was very young. In all honesty with a 7th grade education you take what is available and will except you. I still do not believe that is an excuse for staying the full year that I did! When I started working for BCPF I thought I was genuinely helping people, my fellow women who needed a hand up and protection. In all honesty I did not know how the money was being donated at first I just knew it went to mammograms. They provided my training which took all of a week’s time, I really believed at the time I was making a difference. My mother in law and I would visit after work and I would tell her how things at work were going, we did not actually become close until I had alalready worked for the company for roughly 6 months. At that time I did not think to research my company because they seemed to bring the information to us, we even had a big presentation held by Jim Patton and Jeff Cunningham that included us seeing the mobile mammogram unit they used for the state of Texas, we were all convinced we raised that money for a truly amazing cause. We raised money for Texas between 9am and 5pm I believe, after that we called in Washington state. The position always drew red flags as I saw Patton pass out bonuses like they were candy but would not pay us to use the restrooms. Needless to say I was very disappointed to work for this company and truly wish I saved the documentation to provide even more evidence into the scandal that was BCPF. A heads up to anyone reading they also raise money for American Red Cross, or at least they did in 2007 when I worked for them. I regret that year of my life purely to survive and all of the pain and lies I spread thinking that I was working for the betterment of life. My apologies to all the women inadvertantly affected by this lie and the perpetrators of it! I am truly sorry…

    Sincerely
    K

  14. Jennifer says:

    The way they claim 90% goes to help women is through the self breast exam shower cards we sent out. I worked for the POS place for two years and quit just shortly before the “outing”. We all knew that “the helping of women” was those cards and very little went to the women, but he would do things like donate 10,000 to the Swedish Mammogram Van and they would come by and thank us personally for our hard work for a good cause so we felt good about what we were doing 😦 James aka Jim was building an addition to the Legacy office to house his very exspensive tour bus used for leisure only.

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