NEWARK, Ohio — A central Ohio woman faked a cancer diagnosis for her 4-year-old son and shaved his head in a scheme that convinced him and others he was dying and bilked people out of donations, authorities said.
Court records allege the boy was taken to a hospital for symptoms such as seizures. He underwent at least 20 blood tests, more than 150 hours of inpatient monitoring, and other testing that found no problems, according to the records.
His mother, Emily Creno of Utica, is charged with one felony count of child endangerment . Creno, 31, didn’t comment in court Wednesday as her bond was set at $50,000, and she was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with her son, The Advocate in Newark reported.
Licking County Common Pleas Court records listed no attorney for Creno.
Authorities say the hoax began late last year when she and others she told about the boy’s cancer diagnosis created websites in support of him. One site provided updates on his condition, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Utica police were tipped to the possible fraud in May by a woman who had a daughter with leukemia who thought some information in online updates didn’t make sense.
Police investigated claims that 20 or more people donated money or goods to the family, The Advocate reported.
Creno convinced her estranged husband and the boy’s 8-year-old sister that the boy was dying, the Dispatch said.
The children are now in the custody of a different relative, and the boy has had no medical problems, Creno’s husband, John Creno, said.
He said he suspects the scheme began as retaliation after they separated.