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TikToker Who Scammed Donors Of $37,000 Claiming She Had Cancer Pleads Guilty

Posted by Amarachi on Fri 16th Jun, 2023 -

The young woman who caused public outrage with her twisted lies, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft Wednesday and will now face a judge for sentencing


Madison Marie Russo

A 20-year-old  female TikToker has pleaded guilty and faces up to ten years imprisonment after she defrauded hundreds of GoFundMe donors out of $37,000 by lying that she had pancreatic cancer and a football-sized tumour on her spine.

Madison Marie Russo was arrested on January 23 after anonymous medical professionals sounded the alarm that she was faking a stage 2 cancer diagnosis – pointing out the irregularities of cords and tubes in her ‘chemo’ TikTok videos.

After being charged with theft by means of deception in January this year, the exposed TikToker from Bettendorf, Iowa, had initially pleaded not guilty the following month.

However, the young woman, who caused public outrage with her twisted lies, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft Wednesday and will now face a judge for sentencing, WQAD reports.

Amid a slew of lies, Russo, 19 at the time of being charged, said she had pancreatic cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia – and even claimed she had a ‘football-sized’ tumor on her lower back and spine in a bid to swindle innocent well-wishers.

Russo, who claimed her medical journey started in February 2022, was outed when police obtained medical records from centers she was a patient at that all exposed she had not received any form of cancer treatment, KWQC reports.

Officers also found that Russo was shamelessly stealing photos from cancer patients’ social media accounts in an attempt to make her story more believable. She which she promoted her ‘cancer journey’ on Facebook and LinkedIn among other social media sites.

Russo, who also shared her story in newspapers, podcasts, talks at St. Ambrose University – where she studied – and The National Pancreatic Foundation, posted a $10,000 bail the same day she was arrested.

Police obtained a search warrant for Russo’s Bettendorf apartment where they uncovered a brown paper bag with medical supplies, an IV pole with a cotton ball filled pump, boxes of transparent dressing, wigs and a prescription for nausea medication made out to her relative, according to KWQC.

Russo was found to have accepted money from 439 donors, including from cancer foundations and school districts.

A GoFundMe account showed another $37,303 was raised by January before her arrest. It appears the page has been taken down now and GoFundMe have refunded the money that was donated to her.

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