A Florida woman is facing felony charges after cops determined that she faked having breast cancer in order to swindle thousands of dollars out of friends, family, and her supporters in the community, WXIN is reporting.
Thirty-six-year-old Kelly Johanneson disappeared for a few weeks in 2013. When she resurfaced, and friends and family started asking where she’d been, she claimed that she’d been undergoing treatment for Stage IV breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. She’d even shaved her head to keep up the ruse.
The Florida woman’s friends, family, and community rushed to her aid, according to Daily Mail. A GoFundMe account was set up in her name; friends held a BBQ fundraiser; a local boat club raffled off a $2,000 assault rifle.
All told, the various fundraisers bought in over $4,400 for Kelly’s non-existent breast cancer.
“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.”
Johanneson’s story began to unravel when police received an anonymous tip that her cancer story may not have been on the up-and-up.
Interviews with family members revealed that none of them had actually been with her when she received her cancer diagnosis or got treatment. Calls to Moffitt Cancer Center revealed that they’d never had a patient by the name of Kelly Johanneson; and the paperwork that she produced to “prove” her stay at the cancer center was reportedly bogus.
Detective John Bergen of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is alarmed at the lengths Ms. Johanneson went to to scam the community.
“This is the first case in Citrus County of its kind. It just seems so implausible that someone would use a horrible illness like cancer for personal gain. Johanneson hurt so many people; from people that loved her to people that hardly knew her but wanted to help.”
Kelly Johanneson is not the first person to fake cancer, or another illness, for profit. Mindy Taylor, of Ohio, raked in $21,000 in donations for her non-existent cancer of the intestines, as well as strokes, heart disease, and lupus, according to this Inquisitr report.
The woman who faked breast cancer to con friends and family out of money has been charged with organized fraud, a third degree felony in Florida.