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Woman accused of faking cancer received over $10,000 in donations, authorities say

Woman accused of faking cancer received over $10,000 in donations, authorities say
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AVAILABLE. JANELLE: A CHESTER COUNTY WOMAN IS ACCUSED OF PRETENDING TO HAVE CANCER AND LYING ABOUT HER OWN FATHER DYING IN AN ELABORATE SCHEME TO STEAL THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FROM DONORS ON GOFUNDME AND FACEBOOK. JESSICA CORNELL SMITH WAS ARRESTED MONDAY AND CHARGED WITH THEFT BY DECEPTION AND RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERT EARLIER THIS YEAR, SMITH CREATED A GOFUNDME AND FACEBOOK PAGE, CLAIMING SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH HEREDITARY NONPOLYPOSIS COLORECTAL CANCER. THROUGH HER PAGES, SMITH CLAIMED SHE WAS FACING TREMENDOUS MEDICAL BILLS, TRAVEL COSTS, AND OTHER PAYMENTS RELATED TO CHILDCARE AND MISSED WORK. SMITH MANAGED TO RAISE OVER $10,000 THROUGH HER FUNDRAISERS. POLICE BEGAN TO INVESTIGATE IN JUNE 19 WHEN A FRIEND OF SMITH AND HER HUSBAND FILED A REPORT, CLAIMING THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE SHE HAD CANCER. POLICE SAY SMITH ALSO TOLD HER BOSSES THAT HER FATHER HAD DIED, ALLOWING HER TO TAKE TIME OFF. >> THIS DEFENDANT PREYED ON THE GENEROSITY OF STRANGERS BY LYING ABOUT HAVING CANCER, AND THEN SHE LIED ABOUT HER OWN FATHER’S DEATH, ESSENTIALLY JUST TO GET A DAY OFF FROM WORK. JANELLE: A SPOKESPERSON FOR GOFUNDME SAYS IT’S WORKING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT TO RETURN THE MONEY TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED. IT’S UNCLEAR IF THE MONEY SMITH RECEIVED THROUGH HER FAC
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Woman accused of faking cancer received over $10,000 in donations, authorities say
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.In a statement to CNN, GoFundMe maintained that misuse of the platform is very rare."In this case, the campaign was reported to our team and we are working with local law enforcement to assist in the investigation," said GoFundMe spokeswoman Meghan Scripture. "All donations will be refunded to the donors in full and the user has been banned from the platform."Smith's formal charges are theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Her lawyer, Michael DiCindio, told CNN he had no comment at this time.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.Terri Coleman, who helped interview Smith twice for The Ever Evolving Truth podcast, said she was suspicious of Smith very early on.Coleman invited Smith to the podcast after seeing comments accusing Smith of faking her cancer diagnosis on Facebook."We found her to be very vague when discussing her cancer treatment and diagnosis," Coleman told CNN of the July interview with Smith. "She had no documentation to prove her claims and she told us so many things that turned out to be lies."The complaint states that while Smith was a patient at Penn Medicine, she never received chemotherapy there.Penn Medicine told CNN that they don't comment on patient matters.A court docket shows Smith was arraigned Monday and will return to court next week for a preliminary hearing.

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.

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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.

In a statement to CNN, GoFundMe maintained that misuse of the platform is very rare.

"In this case, the campaign was reported to our team and we are working with local law enforcement to assist in the investigation," said GoFundMe spokeswoman Meghan Scripture. "All donations will be refunded to the donors in full and the user has been banned from the platform."

Smith's formal charges are theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Her lawyer, Michael DiCindio, told CNN he had no comment at this time.

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.

Terri Coleman, who helped interview Smith twice for The Ever Evolving Truth podcast, said she was suspicious of Smith very early on.

Coleman invited Smith to the podcast after seeing comments accusing Smith of faking her cancer diagnosis on Facebook.

"We found her to be very vague when discussing her cancer treatment and diagnosis," Coleman told CNN of the July interview with Smith. "She had no documentation to prove her claims and she told us so many things that turned out to be lies."

The complaint states that while Smith was a patient at Penn Medicine, she never received chemotherapy there.

Penn Medicine told CNN that they don't comment on patient matters.

A court docket shows Smith was arraigned Monday and will return to court next week for a preliminary hearing.