A 22-year-old heroin addict who made up a cancer scam to bilk thousands of dollars from countless sympathetic victims by making them believe she needed money for treatment is expected to be sentenced Monday to a drug treatment program.
Prosecutors were hoping Brittany Ozarowski would get up to seven years in prison.
Ozarowski pleaded guilty Monday in Suffolk County Court to a 24 counts of grand larceny, forgery, and other crimes, The New York Times reported.
Judge John Iliou has stated he will sentence the woman to a drug treatment program for up to two years, plus three years of probation. She also will be forced to pay more than $10,000 in restitution.
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Ozarowski, who was wasting away while addicted to heroin, admitted to asking sympathetic business owners if she could leave jars behind to solicit money. Her scheme, which began in March of 2012, started falling apart after her story kept changing and people questioned why her hair wasn’t falling out from chemotherapy treatments. She failed to show up after a man offered to arrange treatments for her at Stony Brook Medical Center.
“There was no cancer, no chemotherapy or radiation,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota told The Associated Press
shortly after authorities caught on to Ozarowski. “All there was was heroin and more heroin.”
The woman was arrested April 1 in front of a plastic jar that read “Please help me with my medical bills for bone and brain cancer,” according to Newsday.
When she was arrested, Ozarowski’s grandmother had sold her house and given her granddaughter more than $100,000 for cancer treatment. Ozarowski’s father said he depleted his retirement account to help her.
Ozarowski’s defense attorney said a drug diversion program was appropriate for the woman, whom he said is no longer using heroin. Ozarowski, said attorney George Duncan, “looks like a totally different person. She’s terribly remorseful. She’s horrified and embarrassed.”
Ozarowski has a history of drug arrests dating back to 2010.
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