Iowa woman who made fake cancer claims on social media must pay restitution but stays out of prison

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — An eastern Iowa woman who falsely claimed to have cancer will stay out of prison after a judge gave her probation and a suspended sentence. 

Twenty-year-old Madison Russo never had pancreatic cancer, leukemia nor the football-sized tumor wrapped around her spine she that claimed in postings on TikTok, GoFundMe, Facebook and LinkedIn. But over 400 people sent her donations. 

As part of the 10-year suspended sentence handed down Friday, she was ordered to pay $39,000 in restitution and a $1,370 fine. 

She apologized in court and said she didn’t do it to get money, but to pull her troubled family together.