Woman Caught in Cancer Scam to Collect Money to Support Heroin Addiction

A woman was indicted for claiming to have cancer to collect money for drugs.

ByABC News
April 11, 2013, 12:18 PM

April 11, 2013— -- A New York woman was indicted Wednesday on charges that she scammed her family and local businesses out of thousands of dollars by claiming to have cancer. The district attorney said she used the money she collected to support a heroin addiction.

Brittany Ozarowski, 21, of Long Island, allegedly scammed donors for at least 13 months, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. She collected money from donation jars at small businesses and fundraising events created in her name. She allegedly even conned her family and set up a website, brittanyozarowski.com, which claimed she had bone, brain, ovarian, stomach and thyroid cancer, and that "treatments are about $33,000 each day."

"There was no cancer, there was no chemotherapy, there was no radiation," said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. "The only thing that there was, was heroin and more heroin."

Ozarowski was indicted on 24 counts, including forgery, grand larceny and scheme to defraud, prompting Spota to call the scam "despicable" and announce at a press conference that Ozarowski had "absolutely no conscience at all."

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Thrift store owner Bryan Burgzzoli told WABC, ABC's New York station, that he'd held a special auction to raise money for Ozarowski's treatment. The auction raised thousands of dollars from its 140 attendees.

"[Her] grandma is hugging me, hugging me and crying while I hand her the money," he told WABC. "I made her [Ozarowski] come here to present herself … so everybody can see who we're doing this for. With a beautiful smile on her face, [she] walked out with all our money."

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Ozarowski's father cashed in his 401(k), and her grandmother sold a home in Selden, N.Y., to pay for treatments, Spota said.

She was arrested on April 1 in front of a Montauk supermarket where she was soliciting for donations, according to WABC.

Ozarowski, who is scheduled be arraigned today, is being held in county jail, with bail set at $5,000.