ARDSLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New allegations surfaced Sunday night that a Westchester County mother faked having cancer to con people out of thousands of dollars.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported exclusively, the woman’s former boyfriend is now coming forward to make the sunning admission – claiming he had no idea she made the whole thing up.
With her bald head, Shivonie Deokaran certainly looked like a cancer patient in 2015. Generous people in the Westchester County village of Ardsley – using GoFundMe pages and a spaghetti dinner at the local firehouse – raised more than $60,000 to help the single mother of two teenage boys when she claimed she had only 18 months to live because of leukemia and a tumor.
But now, in an exclusive interview, Nikhlesh Parekh – Deokaran’s longtime boyfriend – admitted it was all a scam.
“She has never had cancer,” Parekh said. “Shivonie has lied to me; has lied to my friends, my family, her kids, my kids!”
Parekh was once Deokaran’s staunchest supporter. They suddenly moved to Florida last year when people started getting suspicious, but Parekh said he now knows the truth and their relationship is over.
“She’s been shaving her head, she’s been shaving her eyebrows, and I had no idea that that’s what she was doing,” Parekh said.
Despite Parekh’s claim he was fooled, Ardsley police confirmed they are investigating both him and Deokaran in the cancer fraud probe.
Rob Wootten runs the Ardsley Panthers Booster Club. He and the high school football team rallied around Deokaran, raising $16,000.
Wootten wants the couple – both of them – to be charged and own up to the scam.
“Do the right thing! Come forward and admit it, because then people are going to be — they’re going to frown upon donating in the future for causes like this,” Wootten said. “GoFundMe pages — who would think that someone would actually do something like that?”
Parekh said he has nothing to hide. When he started asking questions, he said Deokaran invented a fake caner doctor whose name resembled a real doctor at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – even sending typo-filled emails to prove her diagnosis.
“There is absolutely no proof,” Parekh said. “Because of Shivonie and her lies, my whole life is upside down.”
CBS2 reached out to Deokaran for her side of the story, but she did not respond to messages.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center confirmed that the doctor named in the emails never worked there, and in fact, no doctor by that name even has a license in the state of New York.