High school wrestlers busted in fake cancer scam - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

High school wrestlers busted in fake cancer scam

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BLOOMDALE, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Northwest Ohio is known for throwing its support behind a good cause, but members of a high school wrestling team are at the center of a scam for taking advantage of generosity.

School leaders learned of the scam when a woman in Findlay called the school offices on Monday, saying she had just given a donation to a small group of wrestlers who claimed it was for a teacher who was dying of cancer. The woman said something just didn't feel right.

"We doublechecked with the coach to make sure it wasn't coach's family, or maybe something we weren't directly aware of. But no, there is nobody that is sick in our district - that we are aware of - that the kids would have any reason," said Tony Borton, Elmwood Schools' superintendent.

School leaders confirmed some members of the wrestling team were involved and turned the information over to the Wood County Sheriff's Office.

The district learned the boys likely went door to door at several homes inside and outside the district. It's unknown how many victims there are or how much money was donated to the scam.

"I'm really disappointed, because when you use 'cancer,' that's how you get at people's hearts and that's not how we do business here," said Borton.

The scam doesn't just affect Elmwood Schools' image. The superintendent says it could also harm upcoming, legitimate fundraisers run by the schools. He's already taking steps to minimize the damage.

"We're going to get a letter out to all of our staff. If you do a legitimate [fundraiser], we want a letter from either myself, or their principal, that basically says this is legitimate, that explains why we're doing it, what's the benefits," said Borton.

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says he will forward the case to the prosecutor's office if charges are warranted.

The superintendent says suspensions, and even expulsions, could be considered.

If you're ever uncertain about a fundraiser or cause, contact school officials. If you're uncertain about a business, check with the Better Business Bureau.

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Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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