Woman Who Faked Cancer Avoids Jail for $40,000 GoFundMe Scam

Woman Who Faked Cancer Avoids Jail for $40,000 GoFundMe Scam

A young woman who fraud­u­lent­ly raised $40,000 claim­ing she had can­cer received a sus­pend­ed sen­tence for her deception. 

Madi­son Rus­so from Illi­nois pre­tend­ed to have pan­cre­at­ic can­cer, leukemia and a large tumor on her spine. She cre­at­ed a GoFundMe page that conned over 400 donors. A records check found Rus­so nev­er had any form of ill­ness. She pled guilty to theft for swin­dling thou­sands from kind people. 

In court, the judge gave Rus­so a 10-year sus­pend­ed sen­tence instead of jail if she pays $39,000 resti­tu­tion, a $1370 fine and 100 com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice hours. Rus­so hoped eras­ing her record would help her future but the request was denied. 

GoFundMe issued full refunds and banned Rus­so for mis­us­ing their trust­ed plat­form. While some ques­tion her motives, Rus­so said gath­er­ing dona­tions was not for mon­ey or atten­tion, rather an attempt to reunite her fam­i­ly. This case shows how social media deceit can seri­ous­ly harm vic­tims even if legal penal­ties are light.

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