A woman from Pennsylvania was arrested after her own husband accused her of lying about colon cancer to scam people from more than $ 10,000.
Jessica Cornell Smith, 32, created GoFundMe and Facebook pages earlier this year and told people that she was struggling with expenses resulting from travel, childcare, and missed work due to the alleged diagnosis.
A GoFundMe page created in June shows that she raised $ 4,600 after claiming she was diagnosed with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and photographed her after shaving her hair.
But more money was collected on social media platforms for the fake medical bills and went to a TD Bank account, researchers who accused her of theft have claimed.
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Jessica Cornell Smith, 32, created a GoFundMe and Facebook page that claimed she was diagnosed with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
She said she had to pay a deductible of $ 15,000 with her insurance coverage. She was arrested on Monday and charged with theft for deception, false impression and receiving stolen goods
But the mother was eventually detained on Monday after months of police investigation that began in June when a friend Smith suspected that he was untrue.
& # 39; She was very vague about her diagnosis and treatment and really suggestive photos, such as a selfie on the bathroom floor, & # 39; who wants to give up life but also wants to donate to my GoFundMe & # 39;, & # 39; told high school friend Terri Coleman NBC 10.
Smith had claimed that she was being treated by oncology specialists at the Abraham Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania hospital.
The correct name of the facility is the Abramson Cancer Center.
On a podcast this summer, Smith said: & If someone came straight at me and said, "I think you're pretending this," I'd literally say, "Okay, you're coming to chemo with me on Monday." 39; She complained about huge bills, childcare, and missed work costs in social media posts that were shared by others who tried to drum down support after shaving her head
Smith also lied about being a nurse and forged a doctor's signature in a letter stating that she suffered from tumors and colon cancer.
Pictured is one of her supporters who placed an image of shorts made to help raise money for Smith, who put more than $ 10,000 in a TD Bank account
The Uwchlan Township woman even appeared on the podcast & # 39; Ever Evolving Truth & # 39; this summer. from her friend to insist that she fought the disease when skepticism increased.
& # 39; If someone came to me directly and said: & # 39; I think you're pretending this, & # 39; I would literally say: & # 39; Okay, you're coming to chemo with me on Monday & # 39 ;, Smith said in the interview.
How GoFundMe tackles fraud
In general, if a person comes up with a medical diagnosis or other circumstances hoping to raise money, his fraudulent behavior will eventually be reported and appropriate measures taken.
We have a community of over 50 million users – when a story is shared and the community sees something that they think is incorrect, they tell us and our team investigates.
Fraud, whether online or offline, is against the law. If it takes place at GoFundMe, our donors are protected by GoFundMe and their donations are reimbursed. Our team works with law enforcement agencies to report problems and helps them investigate.
Campaigns with abuse make up less than a tenth of a percent of all campaigns. That said, there are unfortunate and rare cases where people set up campaigns with the intention of taking advantage of the generosity of others. In the small number of cases where abuse occurs, GoFundMe takes action to resolve the issue.
All said and done, we want to ensure that the intentions of GoFundMe donors are respected and that the recipient collects the money for them. If something is wrong, we ensure that donors are protected and we ensure that every dollar raised goes to the right place.
On July 31, Smith's husband proved to the police that her deductible did not exceed $ 1,250, despite her claim that it had reached $ 15,000.
It is unclear whether they are divorced.
On the same day, she lied about her deceased father and gave her employer – a Chester County fire company – a death certificate that did not match his name, researchers found.
Her father is still alive.
& # 39; She lied about her own father's death, & # 39; told Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone NBC 10. & Essentially just to get a day off from work. & # 39;
Police officers say that Smith had come to them at the time and complained that she was being bullied online and harassed by people confronting her with the fact that she had no cancer.
Researchers accuse her of lying that she is a nurse at Penn Medicine. Researchers said they had even forged a doctor's signature at the facility for a certificate stating that they had colon cancer and tumors.
In September, Smith handed police documents that supposedly demonstrated her chemotherapy and that she had removed & # 39; sixteen inches from her colon & # 39 ;. However, the police discovered that they only had iron transfusions for anemia.
& # 39; The campaign has been reported to our team and we are working with local law enforcement agencies to assist with the investigation, & # 39 ;, a GoFundMe representative told DailyMail.com Tuesday. & # 39; All donations are fully refunded to the donors. & # 39;
The crowdfunding site said they have a community of over 50 million users and when a story is shared and the community sees something they think is wrong, they tell it and their team investigates it.
GoFundMe said that abuse is extremely rare on their platform because it accounts for less than a tenth of a percent of all campaigns.
Smith was charged with fraudulent deception, false impression and receiving stolen property on Monday and is on bail.
She will be in court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Smith's husband told the police in July that her deductible had even reached $ 1,250 under his insurance
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