Parents tell 13-year-old boy he was going to die to make money from fundraisers

Left to right: Undated mug shots of Ginny Iovando Long and Robert Long. (WMBB)

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A Fort Walton Beach couple told people a child has terminal brain cancer in a phony, yet successful attempt last fall to get donations to help with the cost of his “medical expenses,” Okaloosa County Sheriff’s investigators wrote in a news release.

“The 13-year-old has spent the last eight months believing he is going to die from brain cancer, but the OCSO’s investigation revealed his medical records prove no brain tumors exist,” officials wrote.

34-year old Ginny Irovando Long and her husband, 47-year old Robert Edward Long, were charged with one count of child abuse and nine counts of fraud. The investigation revealed the pair set up a T-shirt fundraiser for the boy at his school last year and shared the bogus cancer diagnosis information on their Facebook accounts as well.

In a December 28th post, Ginny Long claimed it was a miracle the boy had lived three days past Christmas and “the only person that knows when he is supposed to go is God.”

However, the victim appeared to be in good health in the photograph and when investigators talked to Ginny Long he said Irovando told him he was going to die due to brain cancer back in May 2017.

“It scared him and he didn’t like to talk about it,” he added.

Deputies began the investigation in November of last year after suspicions arose within the School Resource Officer program that the couple was exploiting the victim for financial gain by falsely saying he was dying from brain cancer. The couple was taken into custody Thursday at their home on Scottwood Drive.