(CBS/AP) CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York woman who allegedly faked cancer sought donations from supermarket shoppers and others to support her heroin addiction in what a prosecutor said was "a despicable scam," according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
Brittany Ozarowski, 21, was charged in Suffolk County with 24 counts including grand larceny in the third degree.
Prosecutors said Ozarowski left donor jars at Nassau and Suffolk county businesses and hit up supermarket shoppers for money. She also scammed her father and grandmother, who sold her house and gave Ozarowski more than $100,000, District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
"This defendant perpetrated a despicable scam," he said. "There was no cancer, no chemotherapy or radiation. All there was was heroin and more heroin."
Spota said small-business owners donated more than $600 in gift certificates and Ozarowski established a PayPal account and a website with a banner that pleaded, "Help Save My Life."
"She told business owners that she was suffering from bone and brain cancer, that the disease was spreading to her thyroid and her stomach," Spota said at a news conference. "She told some people that she just found out the brain cancer was inoperable."
Spota said Ozarowski was eventually caught when a man she had asked for money became suspicious and asked for her doctor's name, which she refused to provide. The man called the district attorney's office.