Police: Parents made up cancer story for football visit, donations

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Pictured: Martin LaFrance Pictured: Martin LaFrance
Pictured: Jolene LaFrance Pictured: Jolene LaFrance

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WAND) – A family stands accused of making up a story about cancer to take donations and visit a college football team.

According to a story from NBC Sports, police say Martin and Jolene LaFrance set up a GoFundMe account for their son, CJ LaFrance, claiming he was dealing with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Last fall, their campaign led to a family visit to see the Syracuse Orange football team practice and over $3,300 in donations through GoFundMe.

CJ met head coach Dino Babers some of the players on the team in his visit.  

The parents are both in the custody of Cayuga County deputies. They’re charged with scheming to defraud and endangering the welfare of a child. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports deputies “conclusively” discovered CJ LaFrance never had cancer or any other illness.

The Post-Standard says Justin Roe, CJ’s uncle, told them the child had already gone through surgery to remove lymph nodes and completed a round of radiation treatment. The paper says the uncle claimed CJ had reached Stage 3 of the cancer.

NBC Sports says only the parents face charges at this time.

GoFundMe says it has refunded all donations, citing what it calls the GoFundMe Guarantee. The company says it always returns donations when a rare fraudulent campaign is discovered.

Deputies are still investigating the case.

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