An Ohio woman was found guilty on Friday of child endangerment and telecommunications fraud after she managed to pretend she was a doctor for an whole decade. She even reportedly fooled her husband the entire time. Additionally, she lied about her 5-year-old son having cancer to collect GoFundMe donations.
NBC 11Alive reported that 39-year-old Monika Burgett’s lies finally caught up to her after she was accused of fraud last year.
During a week-long trial last week, a child abuse expert at the hospital where Burgett took her son said Burgett suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver causes or makes up fake illnesses for a person they’re taking care of.
Jonathan has filed for divorce from Burgett, but he said he’s only doing so to keep custody of their three children. He said he still loves her and doesn’t plan to go through with the divorce. Still, he was baffled by his wife’s deception.
“I was hurt. I was confused. I didn’t understand... why she would do that,” he told NBC 11Alive.
Burgett raised more than $40,000 through two separate GoFundMe pages for her youngest son. The boy did suffer some serious medical issues and was in a neonatal intensive care unit for three months. He has been diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that can cause benign tumors.
In April 2015, Burgett was investigated for suspected child abuse. However, she wasn’t charged.
On one of the GoFundMe fundraiser pages, Burgett put up a photograph of her son with a shaved head and plucked eyebrows. She reportedly gave contradictory explanations for why, including that it was part of a “Jewish ceremony.”
[Photo: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office]