Woman Arrested for Allegedly Faking Cancer to Raise Funds
Georgia woman reportedly received $25,000 in money and gifts.
— -- A Georgia woman is facing multiple criminal charges after she allegedly faked having cancer in order to get donations.
Mary Bennett, 29, is accused of felony forgery and a misdemeanor charge for theft after allegedly lying about a fake cancer diagnosis to get money and gifts from people in her local community, police said.
Deputy Epifanio Rodriguez of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office told ABC News today that authorities were tipped off by an anonymous caller who accused Bennett of faking her illness to get money and other benefits.
After a lengthy investigation, police determined that Bennett had never been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, Rodriguez said, and that she had received free trips and money to help her with the disease.
"She would go to great lengths and shaved her head," to appear to be a cancer patient, Rodriguez told ABC News.
Calls by ABC News to a phone number listed to Bennett were not immediately returned. Bennett’s attorney Jacob Stidham declined to comment to ABC News, citing the pending case.
Investigators have evidence that Bennett was faking her illness for at least two years, Rodriguez said, and police are looking into whether the scheme stretched back to 2010. Bennett, who was a licensed practical nurse, received free tickets to an Atlanta Braves game, a free trip to Houston and even went skydiving, police said.
Police estimate that in total she received $25,000 in gifts and money from people wanting to help her through her illness, Rodriguez said.
However, when police asked her to produce evidence she was indeed sick, Rodriguez said Bennett falsified documents from an oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
"That doctor said, 'That is not my signature and I never signed that and she had never been a patient of mine,'" Rodriguez told ABC News.
Bennett was arrested on Jan. 8 and was released on Jan. 11 after posting $2,365 bond, police said.
Rodriguez said the case is still pending and the theft charge could be upgraded to a felony if more victims are found.
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