According to the United States Attorney’s Office for Northern California, Amanda Christine Riley pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday, admitting that in September 2012, she concocted a plan to make money from donors by faking Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She reportedly continued the scheme until at least Jan. 3, 2019. Riley was initially charged Jan. 6, 2021, by felony information.
Riley published fabricated accounts of her life with cancer on social media and via a personal blog, which she began in October 2012. Riley reportedly used these platforms to post photos of medications, herself at hospitals and receiving cancer treatment, as well as photos of herself struggling with chemotherapy side effects. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Riley even went so far as to shave her head.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Riley never had Hodgkin’s lymphoma or any other type of cancer. The statement said Riley "acknowledged her intent was to deceive people into believing she had cancer."
Though donors believed their contributions were going toward cancer-related expenses, Riley did not require any cancer treatments or expenses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Riley admitted she received over 400 donations to her personal account from the scheme, totaling $106,272. She even reportedly held in-person fundraisers at a San Jose church.
Riley’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2022, and she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 (or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme), according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.