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Woman Arrested for Allegedly Faking Cancer and Collecting Donations

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Citrus County Sheriff's Office

A Florida woman was arrested on Friday for allegedly pretending to have breast cancer.

Kelly Johanneson, 36, was charged with organized fraud for collecting thousands of dollars in donations, according to Bay News 9.

Police say Johanneson disappeared for a month in late 2013 and when she resurfaced, she told friends and family that she had been at the Moffitt Cancer Center for testing, where she’d been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer.

Her loved ones sprang into action, setting up a GoFundMe page and holding fundraisers in Johanneson’s honor.

At one such event held by the Citrus County Airboat Alliance, Johanneson collected hundreds of dollars for her alleged medical bills.

“She was happy everything was going on,” Ron Bailey, president of the Airboat Alliance, told My Fox Orlando.

Now, Bailey is hurt by the news that she was reportedly cheating them all along. “There are a lot of people in the world that will do a lot of things,” he told the TV station.

Police first started looking into Johanneson after getting a tip in September 2014 that she might be faking her cancer.

They spoke to her friends and family before interviewing Johanneson herself, who provided investigators with contact info for her doctors at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Fox 59 reports.

But when detectives reached out to the hospital, the center said it had no record of Johanneson at all.

“This is the first case in Citrus County of its kind,” Detective John Bergen told Bay News 9. “It just seems so implausible that someone would use a horrible illness like cancer for personal gain.”

He added: “Johanneson hurt so many people – from people that loved her to people that hardly knew her but wanted to help.”

Kelly Johanneson
Citrus County Sheriff's Office

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