A Fort Walton Beach couple has been arrested for allegedly faking a child’s terminal illness to raise money in a scheme over the last eight months.
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators say the 13-year-old boy spent that time believing he had brain cancer but the OCSO’s investigation revealed his medical records prove no brain tumors exist.
34-year old Ginny Irovando Long and her husband, 47-year old Robert Edward Long, have been charged by the OCSO with one count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud.
The plot was a phony, yet successful attempt last fall to get donations to help with the cost of his “medical expenses,” investigators said.
The investigation revealed the pair set up a T-shirt fundraiser for the boy at his school last year and shared the bogus cancer diagnosis information on their Facebook accounts as well. In a post December 28th, investigators say Irovando claimed it was a miracle the boy had lived three days past Christmas and the only person that knows when he is supposed to go is God.
Investigators say the victim appeared to be in good health in the photograph. When they talked to the child, he said Irovando told him he was going to die due to brain cancer back in May 2017. He says it scared him and he didn’t like to talk about it. He also told them Irovando and Long had created a Go Fund Me account on his behalf.
The OCSO began its investigation in November of last year after suspicions arose within the School Resource Officer program that the couple was exploiting the victim for financial gain by falsely saying he was dying from brain cancer.
The couple was taken into custody February 1st at their home on Scottwood Drive.