The following article, Woman Who Faked Terminal Cancer and Raked in Thousands from Donors Receives Gift Sentence, was first published on Flag And Cross.
A woman who scammed donors out of thousands by falsely claiming to suffer from terminal cancer has learned her punishment.
Madison Russo, 20, was ordered to pay $39,000 in restitution and $1,370 in fines in a Davenport County, Iowa, trial on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
Russo plead guilty to first-degree theft in June.
The fraudster manufactured an extensive scheme to convince well-wishers that she suffered from terminal health issues.
Russo claimed to suffer from leukemia and pancreatic cancer, describing a football-sized tumor in the area of her spine on videos uploaded to TikTok in pursuit of sympathy and money.
The fake also utilized GoFundMe, Facebook and LinkedIn to advance her fundraising scheme.
Russo’s fraud involved the use of doctored photos, a wig, and a feeding pump, according to KWQC-TV.
The scam fell apart after medical professionals who learned of Russo’s claims earlier expressed skepticism as to their veracity.
Law enforcement subpoenaed her medical records and discovered she had never suffered from any of her purported ailments.
Influencer who FAKED having Cancer to make money online and become
famous has been ordered to pay $39,000 by a court.
TikToker Madison Russo, 20, from Iowa lied about having leukemia and pancreatic cancer and was found to have stolen pictures of real cancer patients to pass… pic.twitter.com/gxmUWK8ZKh
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) October 23, 2023
Russo won’t spend any time behind bars as a result of her conviction.
Scott County prosecutor Kelly Cunningham cited the fraudster’s college grades, lack of criminal history and employment as cause to spare her from incarceration.
Rhonda Miles, who runs a Nashville-based pancreatic cancer foundation that donated to Russo, slammed the arrangement that allowed her to avoid jail time.
“It was devastating to sit there and watch the Scott County prosecuting attorney act like a defending attorney, so that was tough. And I think she’ll have a lot of questions to answer from the locals on that at some point. ‘Why were you defending this girl when you were supposed to be prosecuting?’” Miles said.
Russo admitted wrongdoing in a courtroom statement at her sentencing while claiming that she had concocted the scheme in a bid to reunite her fractured family, the AP reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.