Fort Walton Beach couple charged with faking child's terminal illness to raise money

Fort Walton Beach couple charged with faking child's terminal illness to raise money. (Image: OCSO)

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigators say a Fort Walton Beach couple told people a child has terminal brain cancer in a phony, yet successful attempt to get donations last fall to "help with the cost of his medical expenses."

The 13-year-old has spent the last eight months believing he is going to die from brain cancer, but the OCSO investigation revealed no brain tumors exist in the child's medical records.

34-year-old Ginny Irovando Long and her husband 47-year-old Robert Edward long have been charged with on count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud by the OCSO.

The pair set up a T-shirt fundraiser for the boy at his school last year and shared the bogus cancer diagnosis information on their Facebook pages as well.

In a December 28 2017 post, Irovando claimed it was a miracle the boy had lives three days past Christmas, and "the only person who know when he is supposed to go is God."

Investigators say the victim appeared to be in good health in the photograph. When they spoke with the child, he said Irovando told him he was going to die due to brain cancer back in May 2017. He says it scared him and he didn't like to talk about it. He also told investigators Irovando and Long had created a GoFundMe account on his behalf.

The OCSO began its investigation in November of 2017 after suspicions arose within the school resource officer program that the couple was exploiting the victim for financial gain by falsely maintaining that he was dying from brain cancer.

The couple was taken into custody February 1 2018 from their Fort Walton Beach home.

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