FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP/WOOD) — Anyone who donated to a Florida couple who convinced their 13-year-old son he was dying of brain cancer will get a refund from GoFundMe.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne emailed a statement saying the company also has banned 34-year-old Ginny Long and 47-year-old Robert Long from the crowdfunding site.
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s officials say the Longs were arrested Thursday on one count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud.
“The 13-year-old has spent the last eight months believing he is going to die from brain cancer, but the OCSO’s investigation revealed his medical records prove no brain tumors exist,” stated a sheriff’s office news release obtained by our Nexstar sister station, WMBB.
Detectives say the Longs set up a T-shirt fundraiser at the boy’s school and shared the bogus cancer diagnosis on Facebook accounts. Sheriff’s officials didn’t say how much money they raised through GoFundMe.
They began investigating when school resource officers suspected the boy was being exploited. Jail records didn’t list attorneys for the couple.