Woman, 36, admits doing cancer for seven years to scam over $106,000 in donations

Amanda Riley, 36, of California, pleaded guilty to federal wire transfer fraud for nearly seven years for faking Hodgkin's lymphoma to raise more than $106,000 in donations

Amanda Riley, 36, of California, pleaded guilty to federal wire transfer fraud for nearly seven years for faking Hodgkin’s lymphoma to raise more than $106,000 in donations

A Northern California woman has admitted to defrauding more than $106,000 in donations by lying to everyone, including her family and friends, about cancer for nearly seven years.

Amanda Riley, 36, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted in February, the US law firm said in a statement.

In her plea deal, the San Jose woman admitted to cashing in between September 2012 and January 2019 by falsely claiming she was fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma and soliciting donations on social media.

“She posted pictures of drugs, pictures of herself in hospitals and pictures of herself allegedly having the side effects of chemotherapy,” and even shaved her head to show she had lost her locks from the treatment, the statement said. lawyer.

Riley also organized several personal fundraisers, including at a church, prosecutors said.

She admitted to receiving more than 400 donations, which she used for unspecified “personal expenses.”

Riley received donations from friends, family and members of her church and used the money for 'personal expenses'

Riley received donations from friends, family and members of her church and used the money for 'personal expenses'

Riley received donations from friends, family and members of her church and used the money for ‘personal expenses’

The convicted con man concocted her plan in October 2012 and began documenting her fake illness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She also launched a blog entitled Lymphoma Can Suck It, according to federal prosecutors.

Riley shared photos of herself with captions claiming she was taking cancer drugs and receiving cancer treatment. She even shaved her head to make it look like she’d lost her hair as a result of chemotherapy.

Her blog contained a link to a support page, which contained false information about her false “battle with cancer.”

The description reads that Riley was initially diagnosed with cancer in June 2012 and went into brief remission the following year before the lymphoma returned “with vengeance” as a stage 4 metastatic cancer, requiring several chemotherapy and radiation treatments at various hospitals around the country. , including Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The now-defunct page featured a clickable ‘donate now’ icon for visitors to donate money online, and encouraged visitors to contribute to ‘support Amanda’ and help ‘Amanda’s fight against cancer’.

Riley also received money from donors through checks deposited into her personal bank account from her friends, family, and members of her church.

Riley had a blog, Lymphoma Can Suck It, linking to this support page with a 'donate now' button

Riley had a blog, Lymphoma Can Suck It, linking to this support page with a 'donate now' button

Riley had a blog, Lymphoma Can Suck It, linking to this support page with a ‘donate now’ button

A federal complaint against Riley was filed in July 2020, about six months after she wrapped up her cancer scam

A federal complaint against Riley was filed in July 2020, about six months after she wrapped up her cancer scam

A federal complaint against Riley was filed in July 2020, about six months after she wrapped up her cancer scam

Additional donations came from a Facebook challenge, CrossFit fundraiser, Christmas decorations fundraiser, quilt raffle, Chili’s Grill & Bar fundraiser, calendar sales and eBay auctions of several items, including an electric guitar autographed by country music stars John Michael Montgomery and LeAnn Rimes

In reality, Riley has never had Hodgkin lymphoma or any other cancer.

“When people made donations to Riley over the Internet or in personal fundraisers, they believed their donations would be used to pay for Riley’s cancer-related costs,” the statement said. “In fact, Riley had no cancer-related expenses, and the donors’ money was simply deposited into Riley’s personal bank account.”

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