DA: Medford woman lied about cancer to get money for heroin
A Medford woman trying to "feed her heroin habit" solicited more than $10,000 from people by lying and telling them she had bone, brain and other cancers, the Suffolk district attorney's office said Tuesday.
Brittany Ozarowski, 21, is expected to be arraigned Wednesday on a 24-count grand jury indictment, including grand larceny, scheme to defraud and forgery, online court records show.
With her false claims of health problems and soaring medical bills at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan and Commack, she persuaded 25 retail businesses across Long Island to feature her collection jars, according to District Attorney Thomas Spota's office.
Hundreds of people contributed, including one breast cancer survivor, and at least two sympathizers held fundraisers for her, authorities said.
Ozarowski has a donation-seeking Facebook page titled "My Story," featuring a picture of her in a wheelchair, that details her severe injuries from a March 2011 car crash.
Prosecutors said at the time that she was high when she crashed and was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. That charge is pending.
On Facebook, she claims that in September 2011 she was diagnosed with ovarian and stomach cancer, and was cancer-free until doctors found a tumor on her left hip in February 2012. That turned out to be bone cancer that has "spread to my spine as well as my brain," she said.
"I have set up donation jars around my town in hopes of getting help from the community," she wrote.
Ozarowski was arrested April 1 in front of a Suffolk supermarket with a plastic jar that said "Please help me with my medical bills for bone and brain cancer," said DA spokesman Bob Clifford.
He said Ozarowski, who is being held in jail, used the money she raised to buy heroin.