WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Westchester County woman is being sent to prison after faking a terminal cancer diagnosis to scam people out of tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
Vedoutie Hoobraj walked into federal court in White Plains on Friday with a mane of thick black hair however, that’s not how many people in the Village of Ardsley remember her. Hoobraj shaved her head and eyebrows, went by a different name, and lied about having cancer. She then used the charade to scam residents into donating around $50,000 for non-existent treatments.
A judge sentenced her to two years in prison and ordered the scammer to repay $47,000 to the victims Friday.
“She’s a phony, she’s a fraud,” said Robert Wootten, of the Ardsley Football Club, who helped organize a fundraiser to help. “Don’t mess with Ardsley and give the money back.
“Brought her dinners, brought her flowers, checked in,” resident Dawn Byck told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
The judge was not swayed by a doctor’s report from the defense that detailed years of abuse when Hoobraj was younger, suggesting that was a factor. The judge said that was just “psychobabble” and called the crimes “truly appalling” and “unforgivable.”
Prosecutors say Hoobraj’s act was so convincing even her own sons and an ex-boyfriend were led to believe she had terminal cancer.
“I know what I did was wrong,” the prison-bound mother of two said. “I will spend the rest of my life becoming the mom you deserve.”
Hoobraj is being given some time to situate her younger high school-aged son with family friends before surrendering to start her prison term on August 27.