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Outrageous scam uncovered by local police: Fake cancer plea on GoFundMe

Thirty miles from Syracuse, a couple is charged with using a GoFundMe page to fraudulently raise money for their son who they claimed was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The child’s faced is blurred to protect his identity, but that is an uphill battle – parents Martin and Jolene LaFrance were so brazen in their fraud that they had even finagled their way onto the Syracuse Football practice field.

Before they were caught, the couple had used the fake illness to get their son onto the Syracuse Football practice field. A relative of the family shared the publicity photos with Syraucuse.com.

According to Syracuse.com:

After the visit, CJ’s uncle, Justin Roe, said CJ’s diagnosis had recently been upgraded to Stage 3, that CJ had already undergone a full round of radiation and that he had lymph nodes removed via surgery. He added that a malignant tumor was found in CJ’s abdomen.

It is not yet clear how the fraud was discovered. Both LaFrance adults now face one count each of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and Endangering the welfare of child. Scheme to defraud is a felony.

GoFundMe has agreed to pay refunds to customers scammed by the LaFrance fraud. This is not the first time the platform has been used to raise funds for a fake illness; in 2016, a woman pled guilty to raising $126,594 in funds for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy that she never had.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation can contact Detective Nicole Stewart at 315-294-8093. Tips can also be left on www.cayugasheriff.com. Anonymous tips are welcome. Media inquiries can be made to Sheriff Gould at 315-253-4337.

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