Woman accused of faking brain cancer, collecting $28,000 in donations

WOONSOCKET, RI (WHDH) — A Rhode Island woman is accused of faking brain cancer and fraudulently receiving $28,000 in donations through online fundraising campaigns.

Alicia Pierini, 35, of Woonsocket, was arrested Thursday and charged with obtaining money under a false pretense and using a computer for fraudulent purposes, authorities said.

An investigation launched in May 2016 revealed that Pierini had told family members that she had a cancerous brain tumor. Investigators say Pierini requested donations through GoFundMe for assistance with medical expenses.

As time passed, family members grew suspicious of Pierini’s claim, according to investigators. State police detectives confirmed Pierini had never been a patient of any doctors or any cancer treatment facilities that she had told her family about.

Pierini racked up $28,000 in donations, which led authorities to acquire an arrest warrant.

GoFundMe has been instructed to reimburse those who made donations.

Pierini was arraigned and released on $40,000 personal recognizance.

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