A man from Faribault, Minnesota allegedly lied about having terminal cancer to collect donation money for “medical care.” Instead, he bought marijuana and the video game “Clash of Clans.” Investigators also claim he spent some of the $23,000 he received to pay down his credit card debt.
“It is surprising," said Rice County Attorney John Fossum. "I guess you don’t expect to see people pretend to have a disease to try and make money off of it." The investigation into Smith’s theft began in May 2016 after police were tipped off about Smith’s fundraisers. He had several, including a GoFundMe page and a fundraiser held in a ballroom.
“I’m fairly confident that Mr. Smith was the only one that was aware that he wasn’t sick when they were planning these fundraisers. He didn’t really give it away to anyone. He was playing his part. He was acting like a con man,” Fossum said.
One person who became aware of Smith’s lies were his wife. According to CBS Minnesota, she couldn’t find any medical records about his cancer. That made her suspicious. Police obtained a search warrant to look at his records, which revealed that he never had cancer.
“People contributed over $20,000 to help pay for this, which again, he blew on things that he wanted to spend money on. And the people who contributed feel betrayed because how could you feel anything else,” Fossum said.
Theft by swindle can carry up to a decade in prison and a $20,000 fine, according to KTTC.
[Photo: Rice County Sheriff’s Department]