People have committed some serious frauds in the past to raise money for fake causes, but nothing trumps the actions of two horrible parents who led their teenage son to believe that he had brain cancer for almost eight months just to raise donations on GoFundMe.
Ginny Irovando Long and Robert Edward Long, two parents from Florida, were charged with child abuse last week for using their 13-year-old son as a guinea pig for their fraudulent activities.
A statement from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said that the couple had been telling their teenage son that he had terminal cancer which was going to kill him if they didn’t raise enough money for his treatment. The 13-year-old had reportedly lived in fear for the past eight months because of his parents’ false claims.
Crowdfunding platforms are hugely popular among those who are trying to raise money for a good cause, but unfortunately, people like Irovando and Long have been fooling the masses through fraudulent schemes and disappearing with thousands of dollars of donation money. In an attempt to raise money for their son’s medical expenses, the two parents created a GoFundMe account and asked people for donations online explaining that they couldn’t afford the cancer treatment on their own.
The two parents thought that no one would even catch their deception if they used their 13-year-old at the forefront of their fundraising campaign – after all, who would doubt two concerned parents who only wanted to save their beloved child from dying of cancer?
However, their lies were soon exposed after the Sheriff’s Office announced that the couple had gone to great lengths to acquire fake cancer diagnosis from the hospital and even made their son believe that he really had brain tumor and wasn’t going to live for long.
The parents had even spread the phony tale to their son’s school to emotionally deceive people and asked the school administration to help them promote their fundraiser. The deputies from the Sheriff’s Office said that the fraudulent couple went all out with the campaign, creating fake social media pages and selling t-shirts with the 13-year-old’s face on it. Their plan was working and donations started pouring into their GoFundMe account for their son’s non-existent terminal cancer.
Thousands of Dollars Raised
Although the police didn’t reveal how much money the parents raised through the fake fundraiser, many are speculating that the total amount was in thousands of dollars. While the parents were delighted by their new-found riches, their 13-year-old son had been living in fear for the past eight months.
While talking to the deputies, he revealed that his mother had told him that he had seven different types of tumors in his brain, and he wouldn’t be able to live past Christmas. However, three days after Christmas, the couple made a social media post saying that their son was still alive due to ‘God’s miracle’ and he may get to live longer if people continued donating.
Charged with Child Abuse and Fraud
Several months into the campaign, suspicions grew within the 13-year-old’s school administration that the parents were exploiting their child’s illness for financial gains. At that time, no one could have even thought that the entire fundraiser was a fraud and the teenager was completely healthy.
The couple has now been arrested and charged with nine counts of fraud as well as one count of child abuse for putting a teenager through an ordeal for eight months. The teenager said that despite being scared of his non-existent illness, he didn’t like talking about it at school.
He had even asked his parents to stop coming to his school to get donations, but his mother had threatened him that if they didn’t raise the money, he wouldn’t get the cancer treatment and would die eventually.