Apr 22, 2013 8:01 PM by Joe Bevans
MILLER PLACE, N.Y. (AP) - Those who took one look at Brittany Ozarowski had no doubt she was battling cancer. Her face was drawn and gaunt. She weighed a mere 80 pounds, hobbled gingerly on a cane, and complained of the toll chemotherapy and radiation treatments were taking on her fragile body. Neighbors and friends wanted to help so much they gladly put donation jars on store counters, pulled cash out of their own pockets and organized fundraisers - including a dinner dance and a dog-washing event - that together raised tens of thousands of dollars. Ozarowski also had a website showing her in a wheelchair next to the plea: "Help Save My Life." But then people began to wonder: Why didn't she lose her hair after chemotherapy? Why didn't she show up for a free exam at a neurologist? Why did she hang up when a man who ran a cancer charity offered $10,000 in treatments paid directly to a hospital? The explanation from prosecutors hit this middle-class Long Island suburban community like a punch in the gut: The 21-year-old Ozarowski wasn't battling cancer at all, they say, but was scamming people out of their money to feed a growing addiction to heroin.