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This TikToker was arrested for scamming over $37,000 with her fake cancer diagnosis

Over 430 people donated to her fake GoFundMe page


19-year-old Maddison Russo, also known as Maddie, lied on TikTok and GoFundMe about battling pancreatic cancer and having a tumour “the size of a football,” police reports say.

On 23rd January, Maddie Russo was arrested on a first-degree charge, a crime punishable in Iowa by up to 10 years in prison.

Iowa police found the TikToker faked having “stage two pancreatic cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and a tumour the size of a football wrapped around her spine.”

Russo documented her fake cancer battle on her TikTok and on a GoFundMe page where she raised over $37,000 from 439 unsuspecting donors.

According to the police, Russo stole photos of cancer patients posted on social media and shared them as her own. Her GoFundMe page was called “Maddie’s fight against pancreatic cancer.”

On 11th January this year, medical professionals noticed “life-threatening inaccuracies” in the way she was using medical photos and videos. The police raided her apartment, they found a fake wig, an IV pole, a feeding pump full of cotton wool and medical supplies in a relatives name as well as cash.

GoFundMe issued a statement addressing Russo’s fundraiser. The statement reads GoFundMe has a “zero tolerance policy of misuse of our platform and cooperating with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrongdoing.”

Everyone who has donated to her fundraiser has been reimbursed, and the 19-year-old has been banned from GoFundMe.

Russo was released from jail after a $100,000 cash bond was posted on her behalf and she is waiting to appear in trial.

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