Investigations Theft
Joseph O'Connell Hillsdale Police Department/Courtesy

Joseph O'Connell, 29, of Bergen County

October 13, 2017

Police: New Jersey man lied about having brain tumor to collect donations

A New Jersey man is facing serious consequences after police say he lied about being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in order to collect donations through a crowdsourcing website.

Hillsdale police arrested Joseph O'Connell, 29 of Washington Township, Bergen County, on a theft by deception charge on Thursday after receiving a tip that questioned the legitimacy of his claimed diagnosis.

A further investigation found that O'Connell, who officials note is facing unemployment, allegedly wasn't sick and that he was using the donations for his own benefit.

O'Connell first solicited donations on MealTrain.com in late summer, NJ.com reported. The crowdfunding website is intended to help facilitate meals for people following births, surgeries or serious medical diagnoses. 

Investigators told the publication that O'Connell received between $200 to $500 in donations. 

O'Connell is scheduled to appear in Bergen County Central Judicial Processing Court on Nov. 1.

Anyone who made a donation to O'Connell should contact Hillsdale detectives at (201) 497-1537.

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