Thursday, 11 April 2013

DA: Selden woman faked cancer, scammed grandmother out of $100K

DA: Selden woman faked cancer, scammed grandmother out of $100K, A Selden woman is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday accused of running a scam in which she pretended to have cancer to defraud donor and collect money for her drug habit and prosecutors said she even scammed her own grandmother out of $100,000, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Brittany Ozarowski, 21, was arrested with a donation jar in her hand back on April 1, while she was allegedly soliciting donations outside of a Sayville supermarket. She will face a judge in Suffolk County Supreme Court on Thursday when the indictment against her is unsealed.

Prosecutors said Ozarowski ran a scheme for at least 13 months, in which she solicited donations from prospective donors by claiming that she had cancer.

The allegations presented in the indictment claim that she would approach donors from shoppers at supermarkets to business owners, claiming that she was in desperate need of cash to pay her medical bills for treatment for cancer. The district attorney’s office said she claimed to have bone and brain cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer and ovarian cancer.

Spota said that Ozarowski’s own family may have been swindled in the alleged scam as well. Her grandmother recently sold her home and gave more than $100,000 to her granddaughter, he said.

Thomas McDermott, Ozarowski’s father, had made postings to local news sites attempting to solicit donations for his daughter, who he believed was cancer-stricken. He reportedly told investigators that he exhausted his retirement savings to help her.

“She convinced store owners in this county and in Nassau to allow her to place donor jars in their place of business,” Spota said.

Noting that she also established a website, Facebook page, PayPal profile, Spota added “her arrogance was that she established a PayPal account and her own website with the banner ‘Brittany Ozarowski – Help Save My Life.”

A Facebook page Ozarowski allegedly created shows her in a wheelchair detailing a car accident from March 2011, in which she said she sustained a number of broken bones.

Court records show that Ozarowski was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs in connection with the incident. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case remains ongoing.

The Nassau County district attorney’s office said an investigation in that county remains ongoing after the agency received a number of calls from businesses that allowed Ozarowski to place donation jars there.

“This was a despicable scam,” Spota said. “There was no cancer, no chemotherapy, no radiation, and no medical bills. There was just heroin.”

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