Teen Fakes Leukemia, Collects $17,000Danielle Sullivan
A teen in Texas is facing felony charges for scamming thousands of dollars in donations from her town by pretending to have cancer.
Today’s NY Daily News reports that Angie Gomez, 18, collected over $17,000 in donations through her Achieve The Dream Foundation. The made-up group she created earlier this year promised to help her, as well as other children fight leukemia.
Apparently, Gomez spoke in front of her school, church and community telling the entire the town that she had been suffering from leukemia for years. Furthermore, she said she had just six months to live. She also related stories about fighting the disease since the age of two.
The community rallied around the girl with their support and financial help. A website was created and t-shirts that read: “Behind every fighter there is a supporter. Will you be mine?”. Hundreds of people gathered at her rallies regularly.
But over the summer, Gomez was seen looking happy and healthy which prompted someone to speak out and question the accuracy of her diagnosis. Soon after, a three month investigation took place which revealed that no one with her name was ever treated at the hospitals she claimed she was in several times. In fact, investigators could not find one single medical record proving she had cancer.
Others had suspicions but kept them quiet:
“You almost felt guilty if you had a suspicion,” Nicole Matsuda, 28, a local church leader, told the Associated Press. “How can you question someone who is dying?”
Police filed felony state charges but Gomez has not yet been arrested.