A couple who claimed their daughter was suffering from a rare disease have been arrested for fraud after allegedly exaggerating their claims. The couple from Seu d’Urgell in Catalunya had set up the Nadia Nera Trichothiodystropia Association on Facebook and conducted years of fundraising for their 11-year-old daughter, Nadia.

They claimed she needed urged medical attention including operations and travel for the disease, which can range from mild symptoms such as brittle hair to more severe cases of intellectual disability and delayed development.

The girl’s father, Fernando Blanco, admitted on Antena 3 that he and his wife had exaggerated the seriousness of his daughter’s illness to generate interest in her case. He also asked for forgiveness from people who had made donations. The couple then posted on their Facebook page that they would return all the money they had received.

A police spokesman said that the number of people who donated to the campaign was unknown but likely to be in the thousands, with media reports suggesting that the girl’s parents had received around 150,000 euro in donations.

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