Mom Accused of Faking Son's Cancer to Scam People on GoFundMe

mom fakes son cancer gofundme
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

GoFundMe has become an invaluable resource for those who find themselves facing exorbitant costs related to health care, charity, enterprising ideas, and the like. In fact, the social fund-raising platform has helped raise over $3 billion in giving. Sadly, not everyone uses the channel for good. A Texas mom is currently embroiled in a legal battle for allegedly faking her son's cancer to con money out of concerned folks through a GoFundMe campaign.

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As People magazine reports, Monika Burgett has been charged with two counts of endangering children, one count of felonious assault, and one charge of telecommunications fraud, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office. The 39-year-old crafted a GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000 for her son's cancer treatment, care he does not actually need because she also allegedly falsified his condition. 

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But, wait, there's more. Burgett is also under fire for posing as a doctor and claiming the boy had cancer so she could acquire prescriptions for opioids. The boy allegedly received treatment at hospitals in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Cincinatti. On top of that, Burgett is accused of shaving the child's head and eyebrows for photos she used on the GoFundMe campaign site and of falsifying symptoms that led to countless unnecessary medical treatments.

Assistant defense attorney Lisa Rabanus confirmed to People that her client brought her son to Cincinatti Children's Hospital after pursuing care in both Houston and Austin, but says he needed extensive care at multiple hospitals because he has neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that can lead to nonmalignant brain tumors. The defense also asserts that Burgett never forged prescriptions or abused substances and claims they're downright befuddled as to why Burgett is finding herself in court.

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"We're kinda at a loss as to why she was charged in the first place," Rabanus told People. "You can say this mom lied to us, this mom exaggerated things -- but at the end of the day, you [doctors] wrote the prescriptions, you ordered the tests."

We have a feeling anyone who feels scammed by this woman's fraudulent pleas on GoFundMe would disagree. Or, really, anyone who has ever needed to use the platform to raise money for actual, life-threatening care. Aside from how horrible it is to take advantage of anyone, abusing the kindness of others lends itself to future skepticism among would-be do-gooders. It would be a shame if one person's negative actions affected the future campaigns of children and others who truly need the help. 

GoFundMe has promised to refund donations if Burgett is convicted of misusing the funds. Burgett's son, now 5, was removed from her custody last year. He currently resides with his father in Texas.

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