Westchester Woman Faked Cancer, Collected $50K: Feds

NBC New York | 8/11/2017 | Staff
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A Westchester woman has been arrested by federal agents in Florida, accused of pretending she had cancer in order to solicit money online, ultimately raising $50,000, then fleeing the state.

"It's so selfish, I can't even put a word on it," Rob Wootten, co-president of the school booster club that raised $16,000 in a fundraiser for the woman, told News 4 Friday. "She played a great role, she put on a good act, she had everybody fooled."

Woman - Vedoutie - Hoobraj - Alias - Shivonie

The woman, Vedoutie Hoobraj, using the alias Shivonie Deokaran, spent two years from October 2014 through March 2016 faking a terminal cancer diagnosis, according to a federal complaint, even shaving her head as if she was going through chemotherapy.

In October 2014, a friend set up a fundraising page for Hoobraj online, describing Hoobraj as a single mother working as a photographer to support her two sons "while fighting through ongoing chemotherapy and blood transfusions," and said that she had no insurance of any kind.

Page - Photos - Hoobraj - Head - Sons

The page showed photos of Hoobraj, with a shaved head, posing with her teen sons and her boyfriend at the time.

The next summer, in August 2015, one of Hoobraj's sons, then 16 years old, created another GoFundMe page, saying, "the Drs is [sic] giving our Mom a timeline of 18 months," and "My mom and our family is worried about losing [the family dog] Gia, we have until September 10, 2015 to find a new place to live... where they will allow us to keep Gia."

Bank - Account - Pages - Hoobraj - Prosecutors

The bank account linked to both fundraising pages belonged to Hoobraj, according to prosecutors.

On the same day that Hoobraj's son set up the GoFundMe page, the fundraiser was publicized in an article online, in which Hoobraj was quoted as being told "there's nothing left they can do -- she has only...
(Excerpt) Read more at: NBC New York
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