Investigators say woman faked cancer, collected over $10K in donations

Jessica Ann Smith said she had colon cancer and detailed her struggles on social media. After she told her story on a podcast, people became suspicious, including, police say, her husband.
6:14 | 11/07/19

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Transcript for Investigators say woman faked cancer, collected over $10K in donations
Reporter: It was the kind of feel-good story that warms your heart. Jessica Ann Smith, a mother and fitness buff said she was battling cancer at just 32 years old but was rallying support, encouraging friends and family to #fight like a Jessica. With medical bills piling up, supporters answered the call, raising over $10,000 on go fund me and Facebook to help. People are coming out of the wood work to help. Which will restore anyone's faith in humanity. Reporter: But investigators say it was all a lie, perpetuated by Smith to dupe good samaritans into giving Herman for a disease she didn't have, a hoax that led to her She made people believe she had a very serious cancer diagnosis. The fact is, she didn't have cancer. Reporter: It started in June when Smith told friends she was facing a mountain of medical bills while battling colon cancer. Donations started pouring in. The sad type of these fund raising scams is they are preying upon people's hearts in the most sad and vulnerable ways. And because of our charitablity we become the biggest of victims. Reporter: Her story gained added attention in July when she was invited to speak about her diagnosis on the podcast "The ever evolving truth." The doctor is taking my history, as he's looking at my blood work and he's like, I really think you have colon cancer. Reporter: Jeff berg and Terry Coleman work with the podcast. She was going through this check list, and it was almost too perfect. She was very nondestrength with her diagnosis and treatment and used very vague language. People have tried to say I'm if anyone straight up said I think you're faking this, I would literally say okay you're coming to chemo with me on Monday. Reporter: She reappeared on the podcast four days later, taking aim at the people accusing her of lying. Here is my fitness for duty form, with the word "Cancer" on it. Reporter: Smith stood by her story, but what she didn't know is police were already investigating after her own husband came forward telling them he did not believe his wife had cancer. Her second interview is where it kind of derailed. We didn't know how we going to find it all the time, but we were like, we can't believe she's actually doing this. Reporter: According to police, Jessica's story began to unravel, her doctor said those photos which she said were chemotherapy were an iron infusion for anemia. When they tried to verify her claims of having surgery, the doctor Smith claimed operated on her wasn't even in the hospital at the time. And that Smith was never a patient. Jessica's worst enemy is herself. On another occasion she went onto the media, proclaiming the sickness of this very rare, hereditary colon cancer. Reporter: While crowdsourcing websites have raised billions for noble causes around the world, Smith is not the first person accused of taking advantage of people's goodwill. She's in intestinal failure. Reporter: The bucket list went viral in 2017. Her story even made its way to the make-a-wish foundation. 7-year-old Olivia died from what her mother claimed was pa rare disease, but authorities say it was all a lie. The first child dies. The mother then induces illness on yet another child so she can continue this fraud, continue getting attention. Reporter: Turner was indicted on murder and 11 other charges, including receiving fraudulent medicaid payment and theft associated with a gofundme account. Her case is pending. I was driving down 95 and ran out of gas. So I pulled over onto the side of the road. Reporter: And last year, Kate Mcclure's seemingly heartwarming story went viral. She says she was stranded on the sides of the road when Johnny Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas. She needed the help, she took Reporter: With the title "Paying it forward", the go fund me page raised more than $400,000. Like winning the lottery. Reporter: But the ruse unravelled in a shocking twist. The entire campaign was predicated on a lie. Reporter: Authorities say it was all a coordinated scam from the start. The cover photo on the page staged. They say all THR were in on the elaborate hoax. They conspired to pass off a fake, feel-good story that would compel donors to contribute the to their cause. Reporter: Mcclure and Bobbitt both pled guilty in federal court. Those three really ruined it for people who really need the help. Reporter: In her podcast interview, Jessica Smith criticizes the trio, blaming them for making it difficult for those who actually need to raise money, but soon it was Smith's fundraisers owing refunds after her efforts were shut down. The fundraiser violated their terms, they say, and that refunds will be processed for all donors, and go fund me says they will refund all donors. Meanwhile, Smith is facing separate charges in Delaware for criminal impersonation of a law enforcement officer. She took advantage of people's generosity, and everyone's worst fear of a cancer diagnosis to get money for herself. Reporter: For "Nightline," Diane Macedo in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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