Florida Woman Pretends To Have Cancer
Woman who pretended to have cancer shocks trusting residents of small town after she shaves her head and collects thousands in donations.
Story from March 2015
A Florida woman has been charged with fraud after claiming that she had cancer and collecting thousands of dollars from well-wishers.
Kelly Johanneson, 36, of Citrus County, raised at least $4,400 after she disappeared for a month in 2013 and came back to tell her friends and neighbors that she had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
Her community rallied around her, holding fundraisers such as a barbeque and airboat event last year where a $2000 assault rifle was raffled off.
She shaved her head and attended fundraisers such as the event held by the Citrus County Airboat Alliance wearing a bandana.
A Go Fund Me page was set up for donations as well as a campaign on Our Backyard Foundation.
‘Thank you to everyone that has given me their love, prayers and support during this very difficult time of my life. On behalf of my two beautiful children and all of my family you have my deepest appreciation and love,’ she said on the site.
It is not known how much money was raised through various avenues of giving.
Police received a complaint about Johanneson in September and found that the woman in fact did not have cancer, but had been putting on an elaborate hoax that included shaving her head.
She gave detectives paperwork that appeared to be from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, but the treatment and research institute said that she was never a patient there.
The center also said that the paperwork provided was falsified.
Johanneson is being charged with a third degree organized fraud, a felony punishable in Florida by up to five years in prison.
‘It just seems so implausible that someone would use a horrible illness like cancer for personal gain’ Citrus County Detective John Bergen said.
‘Johanneson hurt so many people, from people that loved her to people that hardly knew her but wanted to help It really is unbelievable.’
Facebook users of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office page posted their disgust at the fraud.
‘Having lost a mother and grandmother to Breast Cancer, my heart was broken for Kelly and her two young children,’ Jackie Martin said.
‘This really hit home for me so my husband and I donated to assist Kelly and her family. Now having learned this today, I’m literally sick to my stomach.’
Johanneson, who has seen her hair grow back, is being held without bond, according to Fox 13.
Story found at DailyMail.com