A Florida couple allegedly led their 13-year-old son to believe he was dying in order to solicit charitable donations from the local community for spurious medical expenses.
The New York Post reports that Ginny Irovando Long, 34, and her husband, Robert Edward Long, 47, were charged with one count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud on Thursday, by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the report, investigators found that the Long couple shared their son’s fictitious brain cancer diagnosis on their personal Facebook pages and had organized a T-shirt fundraiser at the boy’s school last May.
The sheriff’s office posted a statement on Facebook Friday, revealing that the Fort Walton Beach parents had also created a GoFundMe campaign to collect cash for cancer treatments the healthy child never received. The law enforcement post also notes that Irovando Long herself posted about the scheme on Facebook as recently as December 28, claiming “it was a miracle the boy had lived three days past Christmas.”
Police began investigating the family in Nov. 2017 when, according to the official social media statement, a school resource officer suspected the parents of exploiting the child for financial gain.
The statement also revealed that the boy told investigators he had believed he was dying of brain cancer since his mother shared the false diagnosis with him in May 2017. He admitted to police that “it scared him and he didn’t like to talk about it.”
Officials did not disclose how much money the Longs collected from their scam. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.