A woman from Chester County is accused of faking cancer and collecting over $10,000 in donations.
Jessica Ann Smith of Chester Springs faces multiple charges in the alleged scheme after investigators say she collected money from people to help her with a medical crisis that didn’t exist.
Officials say that this case shows how difficult it is to distinguish a legitimate crowdfunding effort from a scam.
Authorities say that the 31-year-old Smith used her maiden name, Cornell, to create a Facebook and GoFundMe page for herself claiming that she had severe colon cancer.
ABC reports that the page read, “Jessica is facing tremendous medical bills, travel costs, paying for the care of her children, and missed work.”
Officials say that this went on from June to the end of September.
Acting Chester County District Attorney Mike Noone told ABC that, “She made people believe that she had a very serious cancer diagnosis. The fact is she didn’t have it. She lied about that.”
Noone added, “She took advantage of people’s generosity, and everyone’s worse fear of a cancer diagnosis to get money for herself.”
Police secured an affidavit of probable cause and spoke to Smith’s doctor, who firmly stated she was not suffering from “…any condition that she was currently claiming to be afflicted by.”
Additionally, police discovered Smith also lied about her father’s death to get off from work, though her dad is alive.
It was reported that Smith’s husband and an acquaintance were so upset with what she was doing they came forward.
ABC states that Smith is facing multiple theft charges, including theft by deception and more. She was arraigned and released on her own recognizance. Smith’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 12.