Three people in upstate New York allegedly scammed residents out of hundreds of dollars by pretending to fundraise for a girl stricken with cancer, WSYR-TV reports.
Police in Syracuse on Thursday arrested the suspects, identified as 44-year-old Roger Dunn, 34-year-old Nicole Dunn and 27-year-old Earl Woodridge. Each faces charges of first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree attempt to scheme and defraud, and second-degree criminal impersonation.
Authorities say the suspects knocked on doors and claimed to be collecting donations for Kaylee Marshfield, a 6-year-old girl suffering from Wilms’ tumor. Their scheme generated hundreds of dollars, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.
The trio reportedly claimed to be relatives of Kaylee and downloaded her photograph from a local news website. Kaylee’s real relatives used the campaign slogan “Kicking It with Kaylee” and reported the scam to police. The family said they never sought money going door to door.
Todd Marshfield, Kaylee’s father, called the defendants “scum.”
“It’s infuriating when someone goes around using your daughter to collect money,” Marshfield said. “You’re helpless. There’s nothing you can do about it. You feel angry for the people that donated to somebody that’s scum – excuse me – but you don’t do that.”
On a brighter note, Kaylee received word on Thursday that she is now cancer-free.
The investigation into the scam remains ongoing.
The Better Business Bureau advises that homeowners shouldn’t feel pressured to give money immediately if someone comes to the door seeking donations. It’s always prudent to ask for credentials, too.
[Feature Photo: Earl Woodridge, Nicole Dunn and Roger Dunn/Syracuse Police Dept.]