Brittany Ozarowski, NY woman, allegedly faked cancer to get donations, support heroin addiction

This undated booking photo released by the Suffolk County District Attorney's office shows Brittany Ozarowski. Ozarowski, 21, has been indicted on charges of faking cancer so she could get donations to support her heroin addiction. (AP Photo/Suffolk County District Attorney)
Brittany Ozarowski
AP Photo/Suffolk County District Attorney

(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.

Pictures: N.Y. woman faked cancer to support drug addiction, cops say

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.