A Florida couple was arrested after they told their teen son that he had terminal brain cancer and used the lie to raise a large amount of money.
Ginny Irovando Long, 34, and Robert Edward Long, 47, told their 13-year-old son that he had terminal brain cancer and that he was going to die, according to the Miami Herald. However, the diagnosis was entirely fabricated by the parents, allegedly so they could make some money.
The parents reportedly used their son's false diagnosis to gain sympathy from others to have them donate money to the family.
Police said the parents launched a T-shirt fundraiser and set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding account. The fundraising attempts were successful and the parents reportedly cashed out on the donations, which were intended to help with the family's "medical expenses."
Investigators are not certain how much money the parents made from the fundraisers.
"The 13-year-old has spent the last eight months believing he is going to die from brain cancer, but the [Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office's] investigation revealed his medical records prove no brain tumors exist," investigators shared in a Facebook post. "The investigation revealed the pair set up a T-shirt fundraiser for the boy at his school last year and shared the bogus cancer diagnosis information on their Facebook accounts as well."
The couple reportedly told their son, Dawson, that he would likely die by Christmas 2017. On Dec. 28, 2017, the boy's mother shared photos of their son, along with a lengthy post about the status of his nonexistent disease:
Well its three days past Christmas and he is doing okay. He still has his good and bad days, but we are some blessed and happy parents knowing he has come this far. When the doctors told us that he didn’t think he would be with us on Christmas it crushed our hearts. All I can say is that everyone that told us that you can’t always believe what the doctor says, well that is true. There is only one person that knows when it’s Dawson’s time to go and that is GOD. Every day that we have him with us we thank God for [letting] us be his mommy and daddy one more day. Please keep the prayers coming; they are working.
According to WGHP, police began their investigation in November 2017, after suspicions arose that the parents were exploiting their son for financial gain.
On February 1, the parents were arrested at their home in Okaloosa County, Florida. Both Ginny and Robert were charged with one count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud.