This Article is From Feb 02, 2023

US Woman Raises Fund Over Fake Cancer Diagnosis, Scammed Over 400 People: Report

Madison "Maddie" Russo was taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree theft, a felony that carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence in Iowa.

US Woman Raises Fund Over Fake Cancer Diagnosis, Scammed Over 400 People: Report

Madison Russo is now charged with theft.

An American woman has been arrested and booked in Iowa for running a phoney charity scam where she falsely claimed to have leukaemia and pancreatic cancer to bring in tens of thousands of dollars in donations, according to Fox News.

The news outlet further reported that Madison Russo, a 19-year-old Iowan, has been accused of defrauding hundreds of contributors out of more than $37,000 by fabricating a condition she never had in order to raise money on TikTok and GoFundMe.

"The Eldridge Police Department, around 6 p.m. January 11, was made aware of 19-year-old Madison Russo, who was suspected of stealing over $37,303 from more than 439 donors with false claims that she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, stage 2 pancreatic cancer, and a tumour the size of a football that wrapped around her spine, according to a media release," KWQC reported.

According to the police, witnesses with medical backgrounds informed them of numerous medical inconsistencies discovered in her social media posts. Instead of a medical facility, some images looked to have been taken at Russo's flat.

Similarly, GoFundMe told ABC News that it has a "zero tolerance policy for misuse" and is cooperating with law enforcement on investigations of those accused of wrongdoing.

"All donors have been refunded, and we have removed this fundraiser. The beneficiary has also been banned from using the platform for any future fundraisers."

"GoFundMe's Giving Guarantee" provides a full refund in the unlikely event that something isn't right; this is the first and only donor protection guarantee in the crowdfunding industry," GoFundMe said in a statement.