Manisha Nagrani, 40, an Indian American woman who raised thousands of dollars online allegedly posing as a victim of a rare blood cancer, was arrested here Feb. 26, and charged with five counts of felony fraud.
Nagrani is currently being held in San Francisco County Jail, on a no bail warrant from Santa Clara County, Max Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, told India-West. She is scheduled to be transferred to Santa Clara County to appear on outstanding warrants from 2011.
According to her booking record, Nagrani has been charged with false personation; receiving or buying stolen property; 2nd degree commercial burglary; and acquiring access cards without the cardholder or issuer’s consent.
When she was arrested Feb. 26 afternoon in downtown San Francisco, she was initially transported to San Francisco General Hospital for medical treatment and then booked into jail, a San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman told India-West.
Nagrani was previously arrested in 2006 and served time before being released on parole. In 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle referred to her as an “accidental entrepreneur” who – after losing a job in public relations – founded a matchmaking business, which introduced over 40 couples who got married.
Sometime around 2014, Nagrani began posting on her Facebook page that she had been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes, a blood disorder affecting stem cells in bone marrow. (ABC’s “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts also suffered from MDS, a rare blood cancer.)
Nagrani – who used the profile Manisha MN and also allegedly used several fake profiles including Matt Marc – stepped up her game on May 27, 2015, posting a lengthy, heart-rending post about her struggle with a terminal disease.
“Twenty days ago I received the news that no one wants to hear – my body is failing at its fight against the MDS. I received an ‘official’ expiration date,” wrote Nagrani.
“Three to four months I was told; one hundred days, give or take. That barely takes me to my birthday – barely makes it to the half marathon I’d plan to walk instead of run because of my failing health and strength.”
“If my doctors are right I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving again, I won’t see my God-children celebrate their next birthdays, I won’t have the chance to experience some beautiful dreams on my bucket list,” wrote Nagrani.
Supporters immediately began raising funds for Nagrani’s treatments, creating campaigns on the web portals gofundme.com; youcaring.com; and giveforward.com. Nagrani’s fundraising pages are no longer visible on gofundme and youcaring, but her giveforward page shows donations of $17,552, with many donations of over $1,000.
Victims have created an investigation sheet on google docs – Nagrani Investigation Data Sheet – which donors can use to report their complaint. Reports can also be made by calling (415) 553-1754.