NY Woman Allegedly Faked Cancer in Order to Finance Heroin Addiction
Officials in Long Island say that a 21-year-old woman faked a cancer diagnosis in order to obtain money for her heroin addiction. She is currently in jail for fraud and other charges.
According to the Long Island Press, Brittany Ozarowski had conducted the con over the past 13 months. During that time, she had informed would-be donors of her various health struggles, saying that she suffered from various forms of cancer, including that of the bone, brain, ovarian, stomach and thyroid.
The scam involved a PayPal account and a website entitled "Brittany Ozarowski - Help Save My Life". Prosecutors say that she claimed that the cancer treatments cost her $33,000 a day.
The website read, "In September of 2011, I was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer as well as stomach cancer...I was cancer free until they had found a tumor on my left hip in February 2012. That is when I found out that I have bone cancer. The cancer has spread to my spine as well as my brain."
According to CBS New York, she also said that she had been involved in a car accident that had left her with many injuries. Authorities say that story was also a fabrication.
The scam also involved preying on people more locally as well. Many people believed her stories. She convinced local business owners and neighbors of the home that she shared with her grandmother to donate money to her treatment; one small business owner said that he had hosted a fundraiser that raised nearly $8,000 for her, as well as $5,000 from his own money. She also had collection jars in local businesses where customers donated to her cause. Some said that they fell for her ruse because she was so small and frail-looking.
Suffolk Country District Attorney Thomas Spota revealed to CBS New York, "The truth is she is a 21-year-old drug addict with four open narcotics cases and we have strong evidence she forged doctors' notes to avoid court appearances."
Ms. Ozarowski was arrested on April 1 while attempting to solicit shoppers in front of a supermarket. She will be arraigned today in a sealed indictment.