BRIGHTON, Mich. (WJBK) - Brighton police are investigating after more than $30,000 was raised to help pay for a woman's cancer treatments through GoFundMe -- because it turns out she may have never actually been sick.
GoFundMe records show 399 people donated a total of $31, 645 since April 2017 to the account Candace Kicks Cancer. Brighton Police say, that although the investigation in still ongoing, there's enough evidence that strongly suggests the account was fake -- and that the suspect, Candace Streng, only claimed to have stage four breast cancer.
Meanwhile, GoFundMe has closed the account and is working closely with the Brighton police to refund all of the donations.
In June of last year, Streng's friends held a fundraiser at Aubree's in South Lyon. They raised $6,000 for her, thinking it was going to be used to pay her cancer treatments.
Her friends, who wish to remain anonymous at this time, released this statement saying, "We were recently informed that our "friend," Candace lied for several years about struggling with stage four breast cancer. We let her into our homes, our families and our checkbooks. We had no prior knowledge of her deceit and are fully cooperating with the investigation. We sincerely hope Candace gets the help she so desperately needs."
Brighton police say they expect to be filing formal charges with the Livingston County Prosecutor's Office in the near future against Streng.
GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne released a statement on the case.
"Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds donations are misused, donors are fully protected and will get their money back.
"Additionally, it's important to remember that misuse is extremely rare on our platform. Campaigns with misuse make up less than one-tenth of one percent of all campaigns.
"With that said, there are unfortunate and rare instances where people create campaigns with the intention to take advantage of others' generosity. In the small handful of cases where misuse occurs, GoFundMe takes action to resolve the issue. In this case, the user has been banned, and we are working with law enforcement officials to ensure donors are refunded."