Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, hospitals and banks are among the witnesses listed in the trial of a 19-year-old Eldridge woman who has pleaded not guilty to a cancer scam.

Madison Russo is accused of stealing more than $37,000 from more than 439 donors with false claims she suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, stage 2 pancreatic cancer and “a tumor the size of a football” that wrapped around her spine, Eldridge Police allege in a news release. This occurred about February of 2022 through February of 2023, court documents filed Tuesday show.

Russo shared her story on social media, on GoFundMe and in the North Scott Press. She also spoke at St. Ambrose University, The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation in Chicago and a Project Purple podcast, the release says.

Witnesses who have medical experience spoke with the Eldridge Police Department on Jan. 11 and pointed out many medical discrepancies found in her pictures posted on social media. Police discovered that Russo also received private donations from businesses, non-profit organizations, and school districts in addition to the GoFundMe page, police allege.

On Jan. 25, Russo pleaded not guilty, according to a court documents that refer to “the theft of property exceeding $10,000.00, to-wit: the defendant obtained in excess of $37,000.00 in charitable donations by deceptively representing to the public she had cancer, thereby receiving charitable donations directly from members of the public and/or through a GoFundMe account set up to receive charitable donations.”

A “trial information” document lists witnesses that include several people from Scott County identified only by their initials, as well as::

  • Eldridge Police Officer Garrett Jahns
  • Assistant Chief Of Police Andrew Lellig, Eldridge
  • Officer Jack A. Schwertman, Eldridge
  • Officer Ryan L. Gale, Eldridge,
  • Chief Of Police Joseph Sisler, Eldridge
  • Officer Michael Skocinski,
  • Eldridge Reporter Scott Campbell, North Scott Press, Eldridge
  • Designee of GoFundMe, West Hollywood, California
  • Designee of Facebook, Menlo Park, California
  • Designee of Instagram, Menlo Park, California
  • Representative of Tiktok Inc., Culver City, California
  • Dr. Chandrasekhara, University Of Iowa Hospitals Oncology Department
  • Director Of Health Information Management Erin Dufrane-Woods and/or designee, University Of Iowa Hospitals
  • Jennifer Oltmanns or designee, director of health information management, UnityPoint Trinity Hospital, Bettendorf
  • Debra Ryan or designee, director of health information management, Genesis East Hospital, Davenport
  • Custodian Of Medical Records Daryl Hervey or designee, Iowa City Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Iowa City
  • Designee, National Pancreas Foundation, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Custodian Of Medical Records Bridget Leon or designee, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Designee, Project Purple, Seymour, Connecticut
  • Bonnie Drake or designee, bookkeeping supervisor, Blackhawk Trust and Savings Bank, Davenport
  • Branch Manager Regan Mccarthy or designee, U.S. Bank, Davenport
  • Designee, Bank Of America, Davenport.