Woman faked cancer to fund heroin habit, authorities say

Dylan Stableford
The Lookout

A Long Island woman who claimed to have ovarian, stomach, bone and brain cancer, soliciting thousands of dollars for her treatment, faked the diagnosis to help fund her heroin addiction, authorities say.

“There was no cancer, no chemotherapy, no radiation and no medical bills,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement. “There was just heroin.”

Brittany Ozarowski, a 21-year-old from Selden, N.Y., collected money from unsuspecting donors for more than a year.

“In September of 2011, I was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer as well as stomach cancer," Ozarowski wrote on her website. "I was cancer free until they had found a tumor on my left hip in February 2012. That is when I found out that I have bone cancer. The cancer has spread to my spine as well as my brain.”

She claimed her treatments cost $33,000 per day. "My family had already liquidated all assets," Ozarowski wrote. "I have tried to receive financial help from many different charities, catholic charities, cancer organizations, and organizations of all types for that matter. It is very hard to receive financial help.

"Many places will not help with fundraising to individuals only organizations," she continued. "I have very few options left and I am still in desperate need of treatments."

Ozarowski asked for donations via a Paypal button on her website:

No donation is too big nor too small, anything at all would help greatly. If there is anyway you can help to donate anything or help with fundraising it would be greatly appreciated very much by both my family and I. Thank you very much for your generosity. You can easily donate by clicking on the PayPal “Donate” button below. All major credit cards are accepted. PayPal does not require you to have an account with them to donate.

Ozarowski placed donation jars around town. Local businesses, including Paws N Claws, Tuscany Gourmet Market and the Port Jeff Moose Lodge, threw fundraisers for her. At least 25 businesses fell for the alleged hoax.

“The truth is she is a 21-year-old drug addict with four open narcotics cases and we have strong evidence she forged doctors’ notes to avoid court appearances,” Spota said.

Ozarowski was arrested on April 1 and indicted on 24 counts, including grand larceny, forgery and fraud charges. She is being held at the Suffolk County jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Her arraignment was expected Thursday morning.