CALGARY- A single mother of two who was the beneficiary of $20,000 worth of donations due to her supposed health problems has been charged with fraud.
Police say that between December 2012 and last June, a woman told her employer and co-workers that she had both a fatal heart condition and Stage 4 breast cancer, and provided a fake doctors note. As a result, a number of fundraisers were held for her, which resulted in about $20,000 worth of donations.
One held last June raised $12,000.
However, police got a tip last July, detailing concerns that the woman was acting fraudulently. As a result, an investigation was launched, and police have since charged 32-year-old Lana Rovang of Calgary. She was arrested in Kelowna, B.C. where she had been living.
Rovang now faces two counts of fraud over $5,000, one count under $5,000 and uttering a forged document.
“She was very committed to convincing people that she had these conditions,” said Cst. Patricia Ariss from the Calgary Police Service.
FunFlex Playcare in Calgary says Rovang worked at their front counter, and issued a statement on their Facebook page saying in part:
“She misrepresented herself to us and many others as being terminally ill with breast cancer and heart illness and it turns out she is not ill with either condition…The reason for the media release is not shame or humiliate Lana but to identify if there are other victims that they are not yet aware of. Marc and I, as owners of FunFlex, feel horrible if any parents donated money or items based on us backing her and I can assure you we were not involved in any way in the fraud.
Our staff members were also victimized, with many even shaving our heads to raise money…I apologize again for putting our families in a position to be victimized, it just never occurred to us that a person would be dishonest about something like cancer.”
Police say they have been in touch with at least two victims, and encourage anyone else who might be a victim of fraud to contact them. They’re also encouraging people to do their due diligence, when it comes to giving to charity.
“Know who you’re donating to. If and when you do choose to attend a fundraiser make sure that you know it’s being held by a reputable agency,” Ariss urges. “A lot of personal fundraisers are held for things like this.”
Rovang may have also told some people that she was a victim of the June flood.