A Licking County woman is accused of soliciting donations through social media for her 4-year-old son, whom she stated had been diagnosed with cancer.
According to the Utica Police Department, officers received a tip concerning a possible internet fraud case in the village on May 1.
The complaint alleged that Emily Creno-King had created fraudulent Facebook pages to solicit donations for her son. The pages claimed her son had been diagnosed with brain cancer on December 14, 2012.
Creno-King was asking for arm patches from law enforcement agencies across the country and beyond so that she could make a quilt out of them for her son, who dreamed of becoming a police officer or firefighter.
People who visited the page sent patches and even monetary donations.
"Monetary donations came in, patches came in. Just all kinds of gifts for the kids, restaurant gift cards, you name it," said Darcie Lutz who contacted dozens of law enforcement agencies around the world for
Lutz says more than 1,000 arm patches were sent to JJ, even one from the U.S. President.
"There was always a doubt in my mind but once all the medicines started coming with him on the weekends, I was like, ok, he really does have it," said John Creno, J.J.'s father.
The complainant who reported Creno-King to authorities is also the mother of a child with cancer. She said she had made contact with Creno-King and stated that she did not believe the child had cancer, based on her interaction with Creno-King.
On May 15, Utica police detectives received confirmation from several doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital that Creno-King's claims were fraudulent. According to Nationwide Children's Hospital, Creno-King's son is the victim of medical child abuse.
"A lot of different groups came to her aid, very compassionate and when they started asking questions like my son went through this, or my child, my brother went through this and she couldn't answer question, she started kicking people out of the group," said Detective Damian Smith of the Utica Police Department.
Creno-King was making him wear a mask and shaving JJ's head to make people believe her story. She also told people he had to undergo radiation treatments.
Creno says he feels horrible he gave his 4-year-old son seizure medicine. He says Creno-King told him J.J. suffered from seizures, but no one ever witnessed one.
"[J.J.] always begs me to tell the doctor to please take [the medication] away; and now I can finally tell him the doctor's going to be taking it away. He's out running and playing. He doesn't have to have a mask on or anymore and he's thrilled about that because he hated the mask," added Creno.
A search warrant was issued by the Licking County Court of Common Pleas for Creno-King's residence. The warrant was served by Utica officers on May 18.
Creno-King is undergoing a mental health evaluation at a Dublin treatment center. She could be charged with theft by deception at the least, according to police.
Utica police detectives say calls from people claiming they have been victims of the fraudulent claims have been pouring in.
NBC4's Denise Alex was working for more than a month with Emily Creno-King to do a story with her and J.J. to help him get more patches. In an email on May 1, Creno-King stated "Things have gotten hectic. J.J. just started radiation so our schedule is pretty crazy."
3165 Olentangy River Road
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