Cayuga County couple who faked son’s cancer to raise money could face prison time

A Cayuga County couple could face up to three years in prison for raising thousands of dollars through a fraudulent GoFundMe page that falsely claimed their young son had cancer.

In May, Martin D. LaFrance, 36, and Jolene M. LaFrance, 36, formerly of 78 Rochester St., Port Byron, were arrested and charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child after a Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office investigation determined their son, CJ, was never diagnosed with cancer. In the spring or summer of 2017, the couple began claiming CJ, who was 9 at the time, had cancer and asked for money to help pay for his treatments. They raised more than $3,000 through the scheme.

The LaFrances then faced additional, unrelated, charges stemming from a July incident involving alleged drug use in front of their children.

On July 27, numerous 911 callers reported an unconscious woman lying on the lawn of an E. Taft Rd. residence in the village of North Syracuse. When the police arrived, they found Jolene in the front yard with Martin and their two children watching. At the time, Martin allegedly indicated to the police that both of them used fentanyl, an opioid. Narcan was administered to Jolene and both parents were transported to St. Joseph’s hospital.

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