A Colorado mom was arrested last week after authorities say she executed a scam to raise money by tricking her 6-year-old son — and others — into thinking he had cancer.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Captain Larry Etheridge said Sandy Thi Nguyen accepted $25,000 in community donations after convincing her child and others into thinking he had cancer, KMGH reported.
“We don’t have any reason to believe that anyone other than her knew the truth,” Ethridge told KMGH. “The little boy believed he had cancer. The rest of the family believed he had cancer.”
Authorities reportedly recovered $23,000 in cash after executing a search warrant Thursday where they arrested the 28-year-old mother for criminal impersonation to gain benefit and investigation of theft.
An investigation launched earlier this month determined that Nguyen “did convince her son, family and community that her 6-year-old son had cancer and was receiving cancer treatment since approximately September 2012.”
“Over the last several months, Ms. Nguyen accepted at least $16,000.00 from that account, as well as a trip to Disneyland for herself and family, which was paid for by the donated funds,” authorities added.
The money was raised through community fundraisers, such as a 5K race, according to KMGH.
Nguyen “admitted that her son does not have cancer” to authorities, the sheriff’s office reportedly said.
Rolling Hills Elementary School Principal Darla Thompson sent a letter Friday to parents explaining to them what had happened.
“We are deeply troubled by these allegations and saddened to learn that an adult may have taken advantage of an innocent child and our school community. But the allegations do not, in any way, diminish the concern and support demonstrated by the Rolling Hills community for a child believed to be facing a life-threatening challeng,” the principal wrote, according to KMGH. “It is important for our community to continue to show support and compassion for this child, who is also a victim in this case. The child was wrongfully led to believe that he was ill, and he was not responsible for the parent’s alleged actions.”
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