A Florida woman is facing third-degree felony charges after detectives say she faked breast cancer and collected thousands of dollars in donations from her friends and family, fox59.com reported.
Kelly Johanneson, 36, reportedly went missing for a month in late 2013, but when she returned to her home in Citrus County, Fla., she told her community she had stage IV breast cancer and had been at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
Johanneson reportedly collected $4,400 from a GoFundMe.com fundraising page that friends and family had set up for her, in addition to other funds raised at an event held in her honor by the Citrus County Airboat Alliance, according to fox59.com.
After detectives received a tip in September 2014 that Johanneson may have been faking her cancer, they spoke with her family members and learned that the woman hadn’t brought any of them to her doctor’s appointments.
When Johanneson forked over her medical paperwork and the names of her doctors, detectives visited the Moffit Cancer Center, where workers said they’d never heard of Johanneson.
The Florida State Attorney’s Office took the case, and now the Citrus County woman is facing charges of organized fraud, a third-degree felony.
“It just seems so implausible that someone would use a horrible illness like cancer for personal gain,” detective John Bergen told baynews9.com. “Johanneson hurt so many people; from people that loved her to people that hardly knew her but wanted to help.”