FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 9, 2022
Man Indicted for Stealing over $150,000 by
Soliciting Donations for Fake Cancer Charities
Allegedly Formed Over 23 Charities Across the Country Purporting to
Help Cancer Patients and Other Charitable Causes but Pocketed All the Donations
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York State Attorney General Letitia James, today announced that a Staten Island man has been arraigned on an indictment charging him with grand larceny and related charges for allegedly forming 23 fraudulent charitable entities and collecting at least $152,000 in donations that were never put to any charitable purpose. Many of the charities included the words “American Cancer Society” or “United Way” with added qualifying language to allegedly mislead potential donors.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly lined his own pockets by defrauding unsuspecting donors who contributed generously to help cancer patients fight their illnesses. We have no tolerance for this kind of outrageous alleged fraud, and my office will vigorously seek accountability. I thank Attorney General James for referring this case to my Office and for the invaluable work her Office does to ensure the integrity of charitable organizations.”
Attorney General Letitia James said, “It is unconscionable that this individual preyed on the public’s generosity and deprived cancer patients of the support and resources they needed. There is no tolerance for this type of unlawful and predatory behavior, especially against our most vulnerable communities. My office will continue to work aggressively with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and other law enforcement partners to stop deceptive fundraising tactics that cheat hardworking New Yorkers.”
Timothy Phillips, Chief Legal and Risk Officer for the American Cancer Society, said, “This indictment is important for the American Cancer Society as we work to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. This isn’t about dollars. It’s about treatment, quality of life, and survival. It’s unconscionable that anyone would try to take that away due to their own greed. The Brooklyn District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General are providing critical leadership to protect the integrity of all legitimate nonprofits and the people we serve.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Ian Hosang, 63, of Staten Island, NY. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with 12 counts of third-degree grand larceny, three counts of first-degree identity theft and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on June 22, 2022. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted of the top counts in the indictment.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between 2014 and 2021, the defendant allegedly formed 23 fraudulent charities and filed paperwork with Secretaries of State across the country in a scheme to collect charitable donations under false pretenses. Most of the entities had the word “cancer” in the name, and many started with the words “American Cancer Society” or “American Cancer Foundation” (e.g., “American Cancer Society for Children” and “American Cancer Society of Ohio”). A similar pattern was allegedly used to create entities called “United Way” of various places.
It is alleged that Hosang has had no affiliation with the actual American Cancer Society or with United Way, and no authority to use their names any way. He allegedly used a company in Brooklyn, Clinton Hill Filing Services, to create and file much of the paperwork connected to the scheme and stole the identity of a Brooklyn resident and used her name as the purported director of many of the entities. The indictment also charges him with stealing the identities of the American Cancer Society and United Way.
Further, the defendant allegedly advertised the bogus charities and solicited donations on various websites. For example, the website of “American Cancer Society for Children Inc.” claimed that “Thanks to our volunteers, our ‘angels on earth,’ we have been able to keep organizational costs low while using most of your generous contributions to benefit kids and their families.”
The donations were traced back to bank accounts set up by the defendant and he allegedly used the money on living expenses, including mortgage payments, credit card bills and in liquor stores, according to the investigation. Most of the donations were for small amounts but 12 individual donors gave more than $3,000 each to the fraudulent charities.
The case was referred to the District Attorney’s Office by the New York State Attorney General Office’s Charities Fraud Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Abigail Rosen, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.