Long Island Cancer Phony Rewrites the Record Books

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Back in December I took a glance at seven of the more notable, recent cancer phonies. Those were some real winners.

California cancer phony Danielle Vanderpool raised about $50,000 for herself by faking cancer, which, among those noted in the article, ranks as far and away the highest amount of money raised. But there was in my mind a moral tie in motives between Jessica Vega, who faked cancer to fund her honeymoon to Aruba, and Jamie Lynn Toler, who faked cancer to get a boob job.

Well, they can all step aside. A new low has been reached.

Brittany Ozarowski

Say hello to 21-year-old Brittany Ozarowski (pictured above). As reported in complex.com by way of the New York Post, Ozarowski is a heroin addict, and it was her addiction — meaning her need for money to fund her addiction — that led her to begin telling people she had been diagnosed with "bone and brain cancer."

In order to make it more convincing, Ozarowski found herself a wheelchair (which can be seen in the photo).

The Windfall

I wonder if she expected the windfall that was coming?

  • - First, she conned the father of a young man who had lost his own son to cancer into giving her an undisclosed amount of money. This man also helped put together fundraisers for her.
  • - Then Ozarowski's father dipped into his retirement savings, giving his daughter a hefty $25,000.
  • - And then Ozarowski's grandmother did the unthinkable: to help her granddaughter pay for chemotherapy treatments, she sold her home and gave Ozarowski a whopping $100,000 of the sale proceeds.

Vanitas Vanitatum

Ultimately, vanity took her down: People became suspicious when she claimed to be undergoing chemotherapy but hadn't lost any hair. She's willing to get around in a wheelchair for the cause, but shave her head? No way!

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota characterized this case to the New York Post as "an absolutely despicable scam" before summing it all up perfectly:

There was no cancer, no chemotherapy, no radiation, and no medical bills. There was just heroin.

And lots of it. Assuming she spent $125,000 on heroin, and assuming a recently published street price of about $100 per gram, the young woman bought and burned through about 78 pounds, or 35.4 kilos, of heroin.

Yet another reminder to be responsible about donating your money to those in need.

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