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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An online fundraising effort that took in $6,110 to pay medical expenses of a Fairbanks girl was taken down after the website creator said she learned the girl was not sick.
Alaska State Troopers are investigating the fundraising, which saw 80 people donate to a cancer recovery fund on a GoFundMe page, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/1SMWKGl).
Christina Barron, a friend of the girl's parents, started the online fund drive Feb. 10. She contributed $200 to offset medical expenses that she now believes were not real. She said the site was taken down last week at her request.
"I am just as much of a victim as everyone else," she said. "I am leaving it up to the investigators."
Comments attributed to the girl's mother on the fundraising site supported the assertion that her daughter had cancer.
"I refuse to let my daughter lose this fight and I'll fight with everything in me until she is cancer free," one comment read.
However, the girl's grandmother announced on social media Friday that the girl does not have cancer.
"Our family had no knowledge of this horrific misrepresentation," the grandmother wrote on Facebook. "We are grief stricken by what an event like this could do to our giving community, friends and associates."
Tim DeSpain, a troopers spokesman, said investigators began reviewing the fund drive in mid-March after getting a report from a community member. No charges have been filed and the investigation continues, DeSpain said.
Scheming to defraud is a class B felony, DeSpain said, and the maximum penalties for a conviction are 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.