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Woman fakes cancer to raise $10,000 – then husband turns her in, Pennsylvania cops say

A Pennsylvania woman is accused of faking a cancer diagnosis to raise over $10,000 from generous donors online, media outlets report.

Her husband and acquaintances turned her in to the cops.

Jessica Smith, 32, created GoFundMe and Facebook pages seeking money for the phony diagnosis of “hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer,” WCAU reported. That’s a disorder linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Smith claimed the diagnosis meant she was paying for “tremendous medical bills, travel costs and other payments related to child care and missed work,” WCAU reported.

An acquaintance told Uwchlan Township detectives that Smith didn’t actually have cancer, and about a month later her husband filed a police report, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He told police there was no medical or insurance documents to show his wife was treated, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, Smith herself filed a police report, saying she was being harassed for allegedly faking cancer and showed police a phony chemotherapy treatment plan and the names of doctors who treated her, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. One doctor’s office said she was never a patient and the other told detectives that Smith was a patient — but not for cancer, the newspaper reported.

“She took advantage of people’s generosity and everyone’s worse fear of a cancer diagnosis to get money for herself,” Acting Chester County District Attorney Mike Noone told WPVI.

Additionally, Noone said Smith claimed her father died to get time off work, even though he’s still alive, WPVI reported.

WPVI reported that no one answered the door at Smith’s home Monday night.

Smith was charged with theft by deception “and other theft charges,” according to WPVI.

GoFundMe says it’s working with police to return money to donors, according to WCAU. The Philadelphia TV station reported that it’s unclear whether Facebook will be able to return the money.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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