A New York couple is accused of faking a 2017 story about their son having cancer so they could solicit more than $3,300 in donations, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office said. The couple also used their son's alleged battle with Hodgkin's disease so the family could meet the Syracuse football team, Syracuse.com reported.
Martin and Jolene LaFrance were charged with scheme to defraud and endangering the welfare of a child Friday, according to the Sheriff's Office.
According to deputies, the LaFrances set up a GoFundMe page for their son, CJ LaFrance and collected $3,334 from 42 donors. After a four-month investigation, deputies determined "conclusively" that CJ had not been diagnosed with any medical conditions, Syracuse.com reported.
An archive of the page on Aug. 30, 2017 shows that the GoFundMe campaign had been shared 403 times on Facebook.
Last August, CJ and family members were special guests during a Syracuse football practice, Syracuse.com reported. CJ, who was 9 years old at the time, met his favorite players and coach Dino Babers.
"The LaFrance Family has violated GoFundMe's terms of service, and all donors will receive a refund," GoFundMe officials said in a statement. "Additionally, they have been banned from our platform."
GoFundMe will also be working with New York authorities in their investigation, ESPN reported.
Martin and Jolene LaFrance, both 35, will be arraigned May 16, Syracuse.com reported.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution