A 21-year-old woman formerly of Selden and living out of a Medford motel reportedly faces charges relating to soliciting more than $10,000 by falsely claiming to have cancer and using the funds to purchase heroin.
According to a report in Newsday, Brittany Ozarowski was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday on a 24-count grand jury indictment, including grand larceny, scheme to defraud and forgery according to online court records cited in the report.
According to the report, Ozarowski approached 25 businesses across Long Island and persuaded them to feature her collection jars by claiming her false health problems and medical bills from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan and Commack.
Ozarowski had reportedly set up a donation-seeking Facebook Page titled "My Story," which appears to now be offline as Patch could not find it in a search. However a separate website at brittanyozarowski.com is still live as of this writing, but the donate link to a "brittany ozarowski fund" Paypal page says "This recipient is currently unable to receive money." There is also a related Facebook page still online titled "Please help my friend Brittany" that has 13 likes and a number of recent comments by users denouncing a scam.
Ozarowski's website describes a story involving a March 2011 car accident, a number of cancer diagnoses and claims her treatments are $33,000 per day. According to prosecutors that talked to Newsday, she was high at the time of the car crash and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. That charge is pending.
Suffolk County District Attorney spokesperson Bob Clifford told Patch that Ozarowski formerly lived with her grandmother in Selden, but moved into a Medford motel after her grandmother sold the house and moved to Florida. Clifford said that Ozarowski was at the motel until her arrest for these charges on April 1.
Clifford told Newsday that Ozarowski was arrested that day in front of a Suffolk supermarket with a plastic jar that said "Please help me with my medical bills for bone and brain cancer."
During a press conference on Wednesday, the district attorney featured what he said was evidence such as a donor jar Ozarowski used when soliciting shoppers in front of supermarkets, shirts purchased by a store owner who held a fundraiser for the defendant and more than $600 in gift certificates donated by numerous local businesses.
Other items presented by the district attorney included flyers distributed by Ozarowski claiming she had ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, bone cancer and brain cancer, daily medical expenses of $33,000 and “few options left."