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Cayuga County parents plead guilty to faking son’s cancer to raise money

In July 2017, a woman approached Jolene and Martin LaFrance and offered to set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for their son, CJ, who the LaFrances said had been diagnosed with cancer that spring.

The LaFrances, formerly of Port Byron and now Auburn residents, allowed her to create the fundraiser, which raised more than $3,900 — but there was a catch. CJ, 9 at the time, didn't have cancer.

Last May, Martin, 36, and Jolene, 36, were arrested and each charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, a class E felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, after a Cayuga County Sheriff's Office investigation determined their son never had cancer and the fundraising effort was a scam.

In Cayuga County Criminal Court Thursday morning, Martin and Jolene each pleaded guilty to both of the charges.

Jolene said the woman who created the GoFundMe page was the mother of one of CJ's friends. Martin said they were hosting a garage sale when she came over and offered to set up the fundraiser. He said he didn't object, try to stop her or tell her that his son wasn't sick.

The Auburn Citizen:
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