New York Parents Accused of Running Fake Cancer GoFundMe Page for Healthy Child

Two parents are facing felony charges of fraud and endangering the welfare of a child after it was revealed they had set up a GoFundMe page for a fake cause.

Martin and Jolene LaFrance, who live in Port Byron, New York, were raising money for their child who they claimed had been diagnosed with cancer. The 35-year-olds managed to net thousands of dollars before the page was shut down.

Cayuga County Sheriff, David Gould, said an investigation was launched—lasting four months—after complaints were sent in. “As a result of this online solicitation, they did receive several thousand dollars in donations. The investigation revealed conclusively that the child was never diagnosed with cancer or any other medical condition that was alleged in the GoFundMe solicitation,” Gould said.

couple Martin and Jolene LaFrance are accused of running a scam GoFundMe page that claimed their child had cancer. Cayuga County Sheriff's Office

The couple will be arraigned on the charges on Wednesday in Montezuma, New York. They were arrested on May 4.

GoFundMe responded to the claims on Tuesday and has banned the couple from the website. “It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get their money back.

“Additionally, we are working with law enforcement on their investigation. Campaigns with misuse make up less than one tenth of 1% of all campaigns,” GoFundMe told ABC.

According to CNY Central, officials said the child was not aware of the parent’s scam. The GoFundMe page claimed the child was suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma. It raised $3,000 between April 2017 and January 2018.