A family who lost two children to illness are among the people caught up in a fake charity scam that netted three Victorian men more than $100,000.
Pictures of terminally ill children were allegedly used to help the three Harcourt men raise money at fundraising stalls across Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, police said on Tuesday.
It is alleged the money, raised over four years, never made it to the families of sick children as promised, but was spent on cigarettes, clothes and other personal products.
Among the victims is a Bendigo family who had already lost two of their children and were fighting to save a third.
Police were not clear exactly how the family was linked.
"It is heartbreaking to see real people with real terminally ill children ripped off," Detective Sergeant Colin Grenfell said in a statement.
The men, aged 31, 41 and 49, have been arrested and are expected to be charged with deception, documentary perjury and other offences.