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Cleveland hospital on alert, worried woman accused in fake pregnancy scam might try to take infant

Posted at 3:13 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 16:50:58-05

Hospitals in Northeast Ohio remain on alert, concerned the wife of a now retired Cleveland police officer might try to take an infant after her alleged fake pregnancy and cancer scam was publicly exposed.

The retired police officer remains the subject of an internal investigation in connection with the alleged scam involving his wife. Dawn Brown is accused of peddling lie after lie for years, taking donations and receiving support from people who were convinced that she was pregnant but had terminal breast cancer. Police sources said it appears that she did not have cancer nor was she pregnant.

A ‘be on the lookout’ flyer with Dawn’s picture was posted at Fairview Hospital earlier this week. 

According to court records, Dawn divorced her most recent ex-husband in October 2017. At that time, court records show that Dawn was not pregnant at the time. On the date her divorce was finalized in Stark County – November 14th, 2017 – court records show Dawn married Ken Brown in Lorain County.

According to those who met Dawn through a breast cancer support group on Facebook, Dawn initially stated she would give birth in mid-December. However, that due date was repeatedly pushed back.

Over FaceTime from her Florida home, Jennifer Pace, a woman who was part of Dawn's online support group, told News 5 she and others began noticing inconsistencies in Dawn's stories about a month ago.

"She was talking about carrying triplets back in 2016. Then she talked about carrying twins. Now it’s one baby," she said.

All the while, friends and family sought donations for the couple. 

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association even hosted a blood and donation drive for the couple in January. That’s about the same time the internal investigation started, source said.

A GoFundMe page dedicated to the couple’s plight garnered more than $700 before it was removed. Dawn’s and Ken’s social media profiles have also been deactivated. The couple was also tied to an online gift registry, encouraging people to buy baby toys and supplies for a child that would never come.

According to a spokeswoman from the American Cancer Society, the couple also attended many of the non-profit’s events. Their attendance was on their own volition, the spokeswoman said. The couple also raised money for the organization through the Relay for Life event. That money was donated directly to the American Cancer Society. The organization has since barred the couple from rasing money by using anything related to the organization, the spokeswoman said. The organization is also cooperating with the investigation being conducted by Cleveland police.

“I’ve seen scammers out there. There’s plenty of people that scam cancer but I have never seen it go to the level like this,” Pace said. “Her husband is a police officer. And they are narcissistic enough to think they’re going to get away by having a blood drive for cops. That’s crazy. It took me a minute to really let it sink in.”

Ken Brown’s involvement in the alleged scam remains unknown, sources said. Neither Ken nor Dawn could be reached for comment.

The Clinic sent the following statement to News 5:

Based on information we received from the Cleveland Police Department, we have taken extra measures to ensure patients are safe and secure at Fairview Hospital. We take this matter seriously and want to reassure our patients that their safety is our top priority.

But what's most frustrating, Pace said, is that Dawn allegedly used her condition and her cause to further the potential fraud.

"It's going to make it harder for everyone who genuinely needs help," she said.