A Texas teacher's aide has been fired after he was accused of faking cancer in order to hide a criminal past, according to Texas school officials.
Kevin MaBone, 56, allegedly told school officials he had cancer and needed a few days off this week to undergo surgery, according to a spokeswoman at the Mesquite Independent School District in Texas. However, he is now being investigated for faking the cancer in order to go to a sentencing hearing in West Virginia after he pleaded guilty to misappropriating government funds last year.
After MaBone told school officials he had cancer earlier this year, students and teachers alike helped raise money on GoFundMe for the teacher's aide over the past few weeks. Elizabeth Fernandez, a spokeswoman at the Mesquite Independent School District, said she believes they had raised more than $10,000 and managed to have a car donated to MaBone from a local business.
After sending him off on Friday with the new car and pledged donations, school officials received a call from him on Monday saying he had been "cured" of cancer, according to Fernandez.
"We just kind of thought that didn’t sound right. That was a major red flag," Leslie Feinglas, principal at Wilkinson Middle School, told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
School officials Googled MaBone's name and realized he was scheduled for a sentencing on Jan. 24 in West Virginia. MaBone pleaded guilty to misappropriating government funds after he was charged with using government credit cards to fuel his personal car, pilfering at least $6,684 between 2014 and 2015 when he worked at the Charleston Job Corps Center, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of West Virginia.
Fernandez said the school has now terminated MaBone and involved the police to try to get all the money back that had been donated to the GoFundMe campaign. She said MaBone is set to bring the donated car back on Thursday.
“We’re heartbroken, we’re embarrassed," Feinglas told WFAA. "To know that he did this to the staff, he did this to the students, he took money from our students -- how can someone do that?”
MaBone faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced next month.
MaBone's attorney, Ann Mason Rigby, did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.