Police Investigating Fundraising Efforts of Woman Claiming to Have Terminal Cancer
A single mother of two teenage months is under investigation by New York police for a fundraising campaign in which she raised about $60,000 by claiming she had terminal cancer, authorities said.
Shivonie Deokaran was embraced by the village of Ardsley in Westchester County after GoFundMe accounts were established in her name saying the woman had leukemia and was overwhelmed with medical bills because she had no insurance, according to local reports.
One of the accounts was set up by her teenage son; another was generated by a friend. They are believed to have raised tens of thousands of dollars, The Journal News reported. Both have since been taken down.
In the son's GoFundMe account, he wrote that his mother had been told by her doctors that she had 18 months to live, the paper reported.
In November, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser held by her son's high school football team raised more than $16,000 for the mom, according to local reports.
"It's an open investigation," Ardsley Police Officer Tony Vacca told InsideEdition.com on Monday. "That's all we can elaborate on. We don't want to jeopardize the case."
The probe began a "few months" ago, he said, after concerns were raised about the woman's condition.
Online messages sent to Deokaran and her boyfriend by InsideEditon.com were not immediately answered.
The couple and Deokaran's two sons moved to Florida in February as questions swirled about the seriousness of the woman's health claims, The Journal News reported.
In a phone interview with the paper, her boyfriend, Nikhlesh Parekh, said the move was prompted by Deokaran's health needs. She has stopped chemo treatments and is relying on alternative health methods, he said, but is still dying, he said.