Iowa woman, 20, charged for $37,000 GoFundme scam about battling cancer read full article at

A 19-year-old has been charged with scamming greater than $50,000 from tons of of donors by mendacity about battling pancreatic most cancers and having a tumour “the size of a football,” police stated.

US lady Madison “Maddie” Russo was arrested on January 23 on a first-degree theft cost, a criminal offense punishable by as much as 10 years in jail in her dwelling state, in accordance with the New York Post.

Police stated Russo faked having Stage 2 pancreatic most cancers, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, “and a tumour the size of a football that wrapped around her spine”.

The accused con artist documented her alleged most cancers battle on TikTok and arrange a GoFundMe web page, by means of which she had raised $US37,303 ($AU52,500) from greater than 439 unsuspecting donors, officers stated.

Moreover, police stated, Russo gave talks about her made-up well being struggles on the college the place she was a scholar and on the Nationwide Pancreatic Basis — a declare the Chicago-based non-profit has denied as “inaccurate”.

“We can confirm the person in question has had no contact with the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and has never spoken at any of our events,” a spokesperson for the charity stated, in accordance with Fox News.

Russo additionally as soon as appeared on the Mission Purple podcast, the place a spokesperson described the scenario as “unfortunate” — and justified the lady’s look on the present by saying that on the time, there was “no reason not to believe Maddie’s story”.

Russo’s story started to unravel on January 11, when nameless witnesses claiming to be medical professionals reached out to authorities, saying they observed “many medical discrepancies” within the teen’s social media posts about her purported most cancers battle.

Courtroom paperwork cited by station KWQC alleged that the witnesses had been stated to have noticed “terrible life-threatening inaccuracies of her medical equipment placement on her body”.

On the identical time, a number of TikTok customers who watched Russo’s movies during which she documented her most cancers therapies famous that a few of her medical tools and its placement didn’t look proper.

Investigators stated Russo additionally allegedly stole photographs shared on-line by actual most cancers sufferers and offered them as her personal.

When police executed a search warrant at Russo’s Bettendorf residence, they seized a brown paper bag containing medical provides, an IV pole with a feeding pump crammed with cotton swabs, a wig and drugs for nausea in a relative’s title, in accordance with the court docket paperwork.

Investigators additionally subpoenaed Russo’s medical information and located that the teenager has by no means been recognized with any type of most cancers or tumour at any of the medical services within the space the place she has been a affected person.

Russo claimed she was recognized with pancreatic most cancers on February 10 2022 and with leukaemia just a few months later in an interview with the North Scott Press late final yr.

“I remember hanging up the phone, and I was a mess,” she stated. “I was literally bawling, but somehow I ended up getting the courage to wipe away my tears and went back into class, which now, when I think about it, was pretty crazy.”

Russo stated medical doctors gave her an 11 per cent survival charge for 5 years, earlier than discovering the large, supposedly inoperable tumour on her backbone.

Russo claimed within the interview that between February and October of final yr, she underwent 15 rounds of chemotherapy and 90 rounds of radiation.

“Life has been crazy. It’s like a Catch-22. I can’t win for losing,” she stated.

“I feel like I’ve been rocked to my soul, and right now, everything is kind of uncertain.

“I just want to know my game plan, and right now, I don’t know what that is.”

Regardless of her medical struggles, Russo stated, she continued attending her college courses, maintained her grades, and held down a part-time job at John Deere whereas {golfing} in her free time.

The outline of Russo’s GoFundMe web page, which has since been taken down, acknowledged: “Maddie is currently undergoing vigorous chemotherapy and radiation treatments that make her very sick.”

“As one can imagine, this diagnosis has been very hard on Maddie’s family. Just like with any cancer diagnosis, the cost of medical bills, gas, meals, and expense can be a burden, and that is something this family should not have to worry about.

“If you are able to, donations would be greatly appreciated to help cover medical expenses and to allow Maddie to focus on one thing only, which is to show that she is stronger than cancer and will beat this. Please donate/share if you can.”

GoFundMe addressed the alleged rip-off in an announcement, saying the positioning has “a zero-tolerance policy of misuse of our platform and co-operate with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrongdoing”.

Everybody who has donated to Russo’s fundraiser has been reimbursed, and the 19-year-old has been banned from GoFundMe.

One of many donors to Russo’s marketing campaign advised station KWQC she was “shocked” when she discovered of the teenager’s arrest.

Russo was launched from jail on $US10,000 ($AU14,000) bond simply 4 hours after her arrest. She is due again in court docket on March 2.

This text initially appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission

Initially revealed as Photo exposes 19yo who scammed $50,000 by lying about cancer battle

#australiannews #australian_news

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