Crime San Francisco Bay Area

Gilroy Woman Allegedly Faked Cancer to Get $58,000 in Donations

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Gilroy Woman Allegedly Faked Cancer to Get $58,000 in Donations

San Jose, California — A Gilroy woman was charged in a federal complaint Monday with falsely claiming to have cancer and soliciting donations for cancer treatments she didn’t need and never received, then spending the money on personal expenses.

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Amanda C. Riley was charged with wire fraud in connection with the alleged scheme, in which she claimed to have Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was receiving cancer treatments at various hospitals between October 2012 and February 2016, according to the office of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David L. Anderson.

Riley posted updates about her purported illness on social media platforms and her own blog and solicited donations which she claimed would help her pay for medical expenses. The complaint alleges that, in reality, Riley did not have Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had not been diagnosed with or treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma or any other type of cancer.

According to the complaint, among the ways in which Riley convinced her victims to send her money included posting photos of herself supposedly receiving cancer treatments, of her supposed cancer medications, and of friends and family wearing “Team Amanda” bracelets. Riley also directed donors to a support page where people could donate money online, and allegedly altered a doctor’s note to read that she was “in treatment for cancer,” the complaint said.

Other people who learned about Riley’s campaign also organized fundraisers on her behalf, including a Facebook challenge, a CrossFit fundraiser, and the auctions on eBay of various donated items.

According to the complaint, between September 2013, and March 2016, Riley received 447 online donations totaling $60,272.43 though her support page alone, pocketing $58,256.86 after fees. Riley allegedly deposited the donated funds into her personal bank account and used the money to pay for her personal expenses.

If convicted, Riley faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She was scheduled to appear in court on August 27.

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