An Orlando woman was arrested Friday and charged with fraud after she was caught pretending to have terminal cancer and accepted thousands of dollars in donations.
Vedoutie Hoobraj, 38, used the name Shivonie Deokaran while perpetrating the scam from about October 2014 through March 2016, when she lived in New York’s Westchester County.
Hoobraj was charged with one count of wire fraud, which would give her a prison sentence of 20 years.
She was taken into custody early Friday morning at her home in Orlando, Florida, prosecutors said.
Social media posts from the period in question show Hoobraj posing with her two sons, her head hairless, officials said. But cancer patients usually lose their hair during treatment.
Hoobraj claimed to have sought medical care at cancer hospitals, including New York City’s Sloan-Kettering Medical Center, but prosecutors said in court documents that she never underwent any cancer treatment.
The 38-year-old mom raised more than $50,000 from at least 300 people in Westchester County towns, prosecutors allege. Spaghetti dinners were conducted to help raise money for Hoobraj, who told everyone she had only 18 months to live and was suffering from both leukemia and cancer of the liver, according to reports.
Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York FBI office, William Sweeney, said the alleged crime was an injustice “to those who do truly need the support of their communities and may now be met with suspicion” because of her alleged behavior.
She is due to appear in federal court in White Plains, New York, on August 16, according to court records.
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