MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A Vikings fan group raised thousands of dollars for a woman believed to be dying of brain cancer, but now they believe it may have been a hoax.
Two years ago, Margaret Jean Brezina contacted a Vikings super fan group called “Viking World Order” and told them she had terminal brain cancer. Wanting to help, the group sprang into action.
They arranged a front row seat and field access for the game against the Green Bay Packers and raised over $20,000 from a GoFundMe site they created and jersey sales. Now, they believe they fell for a con artist who prayed on their sympathies.
Eventually, David Garza, vice-president of Viking World Order, asked for proof. Brezina simply texted him a brain scan with a picture cropped from Google Images.
“I didn't want to say this person is faking, but I wish I would have,” Garza said.
Brezina is an Edina High School graduate currently living in Ft. Lauderdale. She has a rap sheet in both Florida and Minnesota for theft and fraud, and a half-dozen aliases. She also allegedly told the same cancer story to a Miami Dolphin fan group.
Suspecting something wasn’t right, a group of Pittsburgh Steelers fans recently sent out a notice, calling her a scam artist. Melinda Mossberg, a former friend of Brezina’s in Florida, blew the whistle on Brezina.
“She doesn't have a job, she has no income,” Mossberg said.
Mossberg said she found it unbelievable someone would lie about cancer -- ”How do you prove someone doesn't have cancer? And who wants to be the villain who says she doesn't have cancer."
Joe LaMonte, a Vikings fan living in North Carolina, took her to that Green Bay game and even loaned her money. He said after awhile several people questioned her story. They began to wonder why she never took medication or attended chemotherapy, and why she drank alcohol so excessively.
“I felt used and taken advantage of,” Lamonte told Fox 9.
“She turned out to be a pretty mean person," Garza added.
Though Brezina threatened to sue the people who gave her money, Viking World Order said they aren't going to abandon their charitable ways, they'll just be more careful in the future.
“We're never going to give up the mission, just do more due diligence, but never going to stop helping people,” Lamont said.
Fox 9 tried to contact Brezina and left a message on her home number in Florida, but never heard back. She has also taken down her social media profile.
To clarify, Viking World Order is an independent group from the Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, the Vikings were unaware of the story until Fox 9 brought it to their attention.