Rhode Island State Police have arrested a woman accused of faking cancer and fraudulently taking $28,000 from a GoFundMe account set up for her in support.
Alicia Pierini, 35, of Woonsocket, is facing charges of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 and access to computer for fraudulent purposes.
A family friend set up a fundraising account for Pierini last year after she told family and friends she was diagnosed.
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Police began an investigation into Pierini in May 2016 after friends became suspicious of her claims of having cancer.
Detectives confirmed she never was a patient of the doctors or facilities she indicated and had not been diagnosed with cancer.
Pierini allegedly used the $28,000 from the fundraising effort in a fraudulent manner.
She was arraigned in court Thursday and no plea was entered on the felony charges.
Financial victims are asked to contact the Financial Crimes Unit at 401-444-1201.
According to a statement from GoFundMe Spokesperson Bobby Whithorne, "It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get their money back. In the small handful of cases where misuse occurs, GoFundMe takes action to resolve the issue. In this case, all GoFundMe donors have been refunded."