Woman Fakes Cancer to Feed Heroin Addiction, New York Police Say

Image: Woman Fakes Cancer to Feed Heroin Addiction, New York Police Say Undated booking photo released by the Suffolk County District Attorney's office showing Brittany Ozarowski.

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 01:22 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 21-year-old New York woman is accused of faking cancer to solicit tens of thousands of dollars from people to pay for her treatments, and then using the money to finance her heroin addiction, police said.

"There was no cancer, no chemotherapy, no radiation, and no medical bills," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement. "There was just heroin."

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For more than a year, Brittany Ozarowski, of Selden, reportedly collected money from neighbors, friends, charities, businesses, and strangers who thought they were contributing to her cancer treatments. She went door-to-door soliciting, set collection jars up around town, and even started a website where people across the country could donate via PayPal.

Ozarowski said she was receiving cancer treatments, which cost her $33,000 a day, for ovarian, stomach, bone, and brain cancer.

"No donation is too big nor too small, anything at all would help greatly," she wrote on her website. "If there is anyway you can help to donate anything or help with fundraising it would be greatly appreciated very much by both my family and I. Thank you very much for your generosity. You can easily donate by clicking on the PayPal 'Donate' button below. All major credit cards are accepted. PayPal does not require you to have an account with them to donate."

Denise Bambola, Ozarowski's former next-door neighbor, said she donated $10,000 to help with medical bills.

"All your life I’ve known you since you were this big, and you take advantage of me like that?" Bambola told CBS New York. "She completely fooled me. She completely fooled everybody."

Ozarowski reportedly told former classmates that her hair didn’t fall out from chemotherapy because of special vitamins she was taking. She also forged letters and doctors' notes to keep up the fa├žade, police said.

"The truth is she is a 21-year-old drug addict with four open narcotics cases," Spota told CBS New York.

Ozarowski was arrested on April 1 and indicted on 24 counts, including grand larceny, forgery, and fraud charges. She is being held at the Suffolk County jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Her arraignment was expected Thursday morning.

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Related stories:

Roche Warns of Counterfeit Cancer Drug in US

Calif. Doctor Accused of Selling Synthetic Heroin at Starbucks

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