A 19-year-old Madison Russo was arrested and detained in Iowa for what police claim was a fake charity scam that netted her tens of thousands of dollars—all from people who thought she had cancer.
Russo was arrested last week by the Eldridge Police Department on a first-degree theft allegation, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to ten years if convicted. She was detained on January 23, but has since been released on bail… and is scheduled to appear in court on March 2.
Police said that Russo had been lying for at least a year about being diagnosed with leukaemia, pancreatic cancer, and a “football-sized” tumour.
Throughout much of 2022, Russo was viral on TikTok while broadcasting her health struggle, which investigators now allege was entirely fabricated, and which got her into trouble after she raised more than $37,000 on GoFundMe from 439 donors.
She was frequently spotted on social media wearing hospital-like attire, such as IV bags, tubes that ran up her nose, and medical tape or gauze, implying she was getting treatment. According to Eldridge PD, all of that was a ruse and a show.
According to court documents, investigators recovered a wig, nausea medication under a relative’s name, and other items inside Russo’s residence, in addition to some of the medical equipment stated above. In other words, they’re arguing that these were all set pieces.
Furthermore, Eldridge Police say they subpoenaed Russo’s medical records and claim she was never diagnosed with cancer at any neighbouring hospitals. According to the cops, she was put on their radar when others wrote in to indicate that some of what they observed on social media appeared suspicious.
Organizations that Russo purportedly belonged to during this period, when she was promoting herself as a cancer awareness poster person, have now distanced themselves from her. She has not officially addressed the issue. A TikTok account associated with her has been deleted.
Source – Tru News Report