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California Woman Gets 5 Years For Faking Cancer Diagnosis To Milk More Than $100K In Donations
Amanda Riley continued the ruse for seven years, documenting her so-called cancer journey on social media and her own personal blog, "Lymphoma Can Suck It."
A California woman who raked in more than $100,000 in donations while pretending to have cancer for seven years has been sentenced to five years in a federal prison for the elaborate deception.
Amanda Christine Riley was handed the sentence Tuesday after pleading guilty to wire fraud for a scheme to collect money for treatments she never received, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Riley claimed to have been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2012 while living in San Jose.
The now-36-year-old used social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a personal blog to “document” her diagnosis and treatment, to “aggressively” solicit a total of $105,513 from 349 individuals over the years who believed they were donating to help pay for her medical expenses.
In reality, authorities said Riley was never sick and transferred the money donated by others into her own personal bank account to pay for her living expenses.
To pull off the ruse, authorities said Riley shaved her head to make it seem as though she was going through chemotherapy and falsified medical records. She also forged letters from physicians, documented the cancer drugs she was supposedly taking and posted photos from her hospital stays, People reports.
The deception was so convincing authorities said Riley had her own family convinced that she was battling cancer.
The former principal of a Christian academy even sued one person who had challenged her story.
Riley ran a support page, linked to her personal blog “Lymphoma Can Suck It” that detailed her so-called battle with cancer for years, according to The New York Post.
The page claimed that after a brief remission, her cancer had come back “with a vengeance.” Riley said she was battling stage 4 metastatic cancer.
Over the years, she benefited from raffles, private donations from church members and a CrossFit fundraiser in her honor.
Those trying to raise money for her medical expenses even arranged auctions on eBay, including a raffle for an electric guitar signed by country stars LeAnn Rimes and John Michael Montgomery.
The elaborate scheme came to an end in 2019 after a joint investigation from the Internal Revenue Service and the San Jose Police Department.
She was charged for the crimes in 2020 and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection to the scheme the following year.
As part of her sentence, she was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $105,513, authorities said. She’ll also face three years of supervision following her release from prison.