CHESTER COUNTY, Penn. (WQAD) -- A Pennsylvania woman faces theft charges for allegedly faking cancer and collecting donations exceeding $10,000 through GoFundMe and Facebook, according to a complaint obtained by CNN affiliate KYW.
Chester County resident Jessica Smith, 32, started a GoFundMe page and a Facebook fundraiser claiming she had been diagnosed with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and was “facing tremendous medical bills, travel costs, and paying for the care of her children and missed work,” according to the criminal complaint filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Chester County. Smith said she was receiving chemotherapy at Penn Medicine, the complaint said.
All the money raised by the fundraisers — which totaled more than $10,000 — was deposited into Smith’s joint bank accounts with her husband, according to the complaint.
Smith’s formal charges are theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Uwchlan Township Police Department launched an investigation in June when a friend of Smith’s filed a report alleging that she did not believe Smith had cancer.
Smith’s husband came forward a month later to report the same to police, stating that his wife is covered on his medical insurance through his employer, the complaint said. He provided documentation proving that Smith’s medical bills had not even met the $1,250 deductible, according to the complaint.