State shuts down local cancer charity after investigation

Cancer charity ordered to stop soliciting in Maryland.

A Cease and Desist order was issued against a Maryland cancer charity on Wednesday. 

The order was issued against We Can Cer-Vive! and its president and founder, Mia Wright, for multiple violations of Maryland Solicitations Act. The violations include using false and misleading advertising materials in connection with a solicitation and failing to register with the Secretary of State before soliciting.

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The following was sent out in news release on Wednesday: 

"We Can Cer-Vive! solicited charitable donations and falsely claimed to be a 501(c)(3) organization using its Web site, various social media outlets, and various fundraising events prior to the cease and desist order. An investigation by the Secretary of State’s Charities and Legal Services Division, aided by the Office of the Attorney General, showed that the organization was allegedly misrepresenting itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and falsely claimed an affiliation with another nonprofit organization in marketing and advertising materials distributed using these various outlets. The charity was also not registered with the Secretary of State before it began soliciting charitable donations." 

Wright's attorney released the following statement Wednesday evening: 

"It has come to my attention that the State of Maryland Office of the Secretary of State issued a "Cease and Desist Order" to our organization and me that was mailed on July 28, 2017. I will briefly address the State's allegations, given the short window of time that I have to respond to the media requests. 

It was brought to my attention on or about July 10, 2017 that we mistakenly used the logos that belonged to unaffiliated organizations. I believed that our immediate response, telephone conversation and removal of the logos were the end of the problem. 

Obviously, that was not the case. I am now being made aware of the fact that our federally tax-exempt organization was not properly registered as a nonprofit under the Maryland Business Regulation Article. I assure you that this oversight was not intentional. I am in receipt of the Internal Revenue Service letter confirming our 501(c)(3) status in April 2015. 

The Secretary of State Office is now alleging that there is a problem with our tax-exempt registration. We will make every effort to get to the bottom of this allegation and confusion. 

Please know that I stand behind my calling of assisting cancer patients declared terminally ill and their families. I can assure the public that all funds raised by me and We CAN-CER-vive! go directly to support the mission of the organization and that we are working to rectify the mistakes made in failing to register in Maryland and will be happy to continue to show the good work that we do." 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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