WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY --A community in New York came together to raise $60,000 dollars to help a single mother who said she was dying of of cancer, but police are now looking into whether it was all a scam.
Shivonie Deokaran appeared to be a cancer patient in pictures she posted on fundraising websites and when the single mother of two teenage boys told people in the Westchester village of Ardsley that she only had 18 months to live, they opened their hearts and their wallets.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner told CBS2's Brian Conyebeare that he used the town website to solicit donations.
"Immediately, within 24 hours from my post we raised about $12,000," he said.
And that was only the beginning. One GoFundMe page raised more than $25,000 and another more than $10,000. But CBS2 has confirmed police are now investigating whether it was all a rip-off.
A police source said after getting a tip, investigators asked Deokaran for medical records to prove her cancer claims. Instead of turning them over, she closed her Indian restaurant in nearby Dobbs Ferry and suddenly moved to Florida last month.
Deokaran's sons went to Ardsley High School and the entire community rallied to help pay medical costs and other bills, even for an adopted dog named Gia to comfort the mother.
The Ardsley High School football team and volunteer fire department even held a fundraising spaghetti dinner at the firehouse that raised another $16,000 for the family.
"It's a good community of people who will work hard," firefighter John Clear said. "It's disappointing that somebody would do that"
And and if this proves to be a $60,000 scam, people may not be as generous next time.
"It will make it much harder to raise funds in the future for other people who desperately need help," Feiner told CBS2 via Skype.
Deokaran's boyfriend Nikhlesh Parekh told CBS2 he would not comment on the allegations until he speaks to a lawyer.