Investigators say a local woman faked a cancer diagnosis so she could make money from a benefit planned in her honor. Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies say 31-year-old Brigid Corcoran, from the Town of Onondaga, told people she had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and then pocketed thousands after a benefit that was supposed to pay for her medical bills.
"I'm disgusted with her, I'm devastated, I'm humiliated to be a part of it," said Cynthia Borland, who organized the benefit on Corcoran's behalf.
Borland collected donations, ran a garage sale, and managed to get a bunch of bands to play at the benefit. About 100 people showed up to support Corcoran on July 25th, and some of them didn't even know her. Borland says more than $3,000 was raised to help her cover rising medical costs. But police say it was allegedly a money scam, and Corcoran's family and friends fell for it.
"Things roll through your head, of all the lies, all of her pretending. Everything she did to her body to make her look like she was a cancer victim," said Borland. Investigators say Corcoran shaved her head, and allegedly wore a device on her chest, to make it look like she was going through chemotherapy.
Thursday night, Borland got a text from Corcoran, asking for forgiveness. But Borland says she's not accepting the apology. "She's sick, but not with cancer, she needs some serious help," she said.
And at the restaurant, which opened its doors for the benefit. Owner David Damon hopes this hoax doesn't hurt people, who honestly need the help. "This is what's going to hurt, I'm afraid future benefits for people, who truly do have problems. Be it cancer, or whatever it may be," said Damon.
Corcoran is being charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud, both felonies. She is scheduled to appear in the Town of Cicero Court on September 7th to answer to the charges. The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office says a concerned relative tipped them off. Borland says she might take legal action against her too.
We could not reach Corcoran for comment Friday.
Onondaga County Sheriff's Department news release:
Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin E. Walsh reports that a Town of Onondaga woman is facing charges that she lied about having cancer as part of a scam to make money. Sheriff Detectives arrested Brigid A. Corcoran (31) of St. John Drive in the Town of Onondaga, after an investigation into the alledged scam was discovered to be a hoax.
Detectives recieved information from a concerned relative that Corcoran had possibly fabricated her diagnosis to have a benefit in her name which she raise thousands of dollars. Corcoran claimed to be diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymphoid tissue. Corcoran even shaved her head to keep up the pretence of having the illness and went as far as placing a device on her chest that resembled a chemotherapy port to give the appearance and impression that she was receiving chemotherapy treatments.
On July 25th, a large fundraiser benefit was thrown at Damon's Banquet Hall in Cicero on Corcoran's behalf. This fundraiser drew a crowd of people from the community to include friends, relatives, neighbors and people whom she did not even known, all in support of her battling this illness and to help raise money to pay for her chemotherapy treatments and medical bills.
After Detectives began investigating Corcoran they found no physical evidence of her being treated for cancer, and no medical evidence that would suggest she was diagnosed with cancer. When Detectives confronted Corcoran and questioned her about the discrepancy, she confessed. Corcoran admitted to faking the diagnosis and claimed it was all done for attention.
Corcoran was subsequently charged with Grand Larceny in the 4th degree and Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree, both felonies. Corcoran was released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Cicero Court on September 7th to answer to the charges.