The Investigators: Cancer Hoax - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Mid-South woman invents sick kids to collects donations

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A cancer hoax whistle-blower has outed a learning-disabled Memphis woman who's created fake blogs about sick children in order to collect donations.

"We've been tracking her since April," said Taryn Wright, writer and creator of the Warrior Eli Hoax Group, a Chicago-based whistle-blower that has exposed 15 online cancer hoaxes since last year.

Wright said 21-year-old Antranette Nolan of Frayser has built at least two fake donation sites -- one for a fake daughter named "Emily" with leukemia and another for "Rose" with a brain tumor -- replete with medical inaccuracies.

"She had a hospital that didn't even treat pediatric cancer patients," Wright said. "Every detail of leukemia was off, so nothing really rang true about it."

Wright said in parts of Nolan's posts, she has lifted the pictures and text from the web sites of real pediatric cancer patients' families.

"It's just heart-breaking when these people whose children really are sick are dealing with somebody who's fake," said Wright.

Nolan, who lives with an aunt, admitted to The Action News 5 Investigators she created the sites. She said she did it to raise money for her mother's breast cancer treatment. Records indicate her mother died in March.

"My mom had breast cancer, and she didn't want me to use her real name," Nolan said. "I'm not making them no more. I didn't know (it was fraudulent)."

She apologized, explaining that she is "developmentally delayed." She claimed she didn't understand what she was doing was wrong.

A relative who asked not to be identified said Nolan is learning disabled "with the mind of a 14-year-old," but has not been officially diagnosed with a disability. Another relative said Nolan's late mother attempted to apply for Social Security disability on her behalf, but was rejected on the grounds that Nolan did not qualify for assistance.

Despite evidence of some sort of disability, Nolan's Internet imprint is vast and, in some cases, sophisticated. She's produced several YouTube tribute videos to her favorite musicians. She manages her own Facebook page and two Twitter accounts.

One of her Twitter accounts reveals a month after her mother's death, she still Tweeted celebrities, hospitals and cancer organizations - soliciting donations for her fake "Emily" with leukemia.

Wright said she has made contact with Nolan several times. "She immediately just makes this heartfelt apology, but then puts the phone down and does the same thing again," Wright said.

"We had no idea that she was doing this," said another Nolan relative who requested anonymity. "She is very good with a computer. She's enrolled in a work rehabilitation program to help her get a job."

The Action News 5 Investigators found no evidence that anyone actually donated to Nolan's sites.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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