Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Become a sustaining member and you could win a trip to Barbados!

State Seeks To Shut Down 'Sham' N.H. Charity With Mission To Support Breast Cancer Survivors

logo of Fab Family Fund
Todd Bookman
A screenshot from the now defunct website of the Fab Family Fund.

An unlicensed naturopathic doctor and a former Miss New Hampshire pageant winner are accused of operating a phony non-profit that solicited donations to send breast cancer survivors and their families on all-expenses-paid vacations.

Get NHPR's reporting about politics, the pandemic, and other top stories in your inbox — sign up for our newsletter today.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office accuses the Atkinson-based Fab Family Fund of improperly soliciting donations on its website and through Facebook.

Prosecutors with New Hampshire's Charitable Trust Unit filed an injunction in Rockingham County Superior Court alleging the group’s founders used deceptive fundraising and failed to register as a non-profit. The state also alleges the Fab Family Fund failed to register with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, despite claims on its website.

It isn’t clear how much in donations the organization collected through its fundraising efforts, or what portion was spent on the group’s stated aim of supporting breast cancer survivors. Prosecutors are seeking restitution for donors and $40,000 in civil penalties.

Shanna Pinet, who also uses the name Dr. Fabianna Marie, is listed as the founder and CEO of the group on its website. When reached for comment Friday, Pinet said the allegations are “kind of crap,” and “we were trying to do good work, and this is what happens.”

The state’s petition alleges that the organization held numerous fundraising events and encouraged donations to its PayPal and Venmo accounts.

Pinet also allegedly advertised “Dr. Fabianna’s ZenVedaWellness Products” on the group’s social media pages, and wellness services, including a $30 program “[b]lending conventional and natural medical approaches to enhance survival and quality of life,” with a portion of the proceeds supporting the fund.

According to the petition, Pinet, also known as “Dr. Fab,” is not licensed as a naturopathic doctor in New Hampshire or elsewhere in the United States. And under the name “Fabianna Marie,” Pinet sang “God Bless America” during a 2017 Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

Pinet’s husband David is also named in the complaint, along with Michelle Tolson, who is listed as the fund’s president. Tolson, according to a biography on the group’s website, is a former Miss New Hampshire pageant winner and Radio City Rockette who now lives in New York.

Prosecutors allege that the Fab Family Fund ignored multiple inquiries from regulators about their non-profit status. Pinet told NHPR that she and her husband no longer live in New Hampshire, but declined to say where they are now residing.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.