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Sheriff: Port Byron couple fabricated child’s cancer diagnosis to solicit donations

A Port Byron couple has been charged with creating a fraudulent GoFundMe page by falsely claiming their child had cancer, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.

Martin D. LaFrance, 35, and Jolene M. LaFrance, 35, both of 78 Rochester St., Port Byron, were arrested on May 4 after a four-month investigation "revealed conclusively that the child was never diagnosed with cancer or any other medical condition that was alleged in the GoFundMe solicitation," according to a press release from the sheriff's office. The couple received "several thousand dollars" in donations, the sheriff's office said.

The scheme ran from April 2017 to January. Detective Lt. Brian Schenck said he does not know if any other family members were aware of the scheme. The investigation was spurred after the sheriff's office "received a report of suspicious activity from an outside source," Schenck said.

In August, The Post-Standard reported that the child, CJ LaFrance, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 2017 and had undergone chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. He was invited to attend a Syracuse University football team practice.

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