California woman Amanda Christine Riley was sentenced to five years imprisonment Tuesday after using a fictional cancer diagnosis to fundraise from friends and followers.
In yet another example of crowdfunding gone awry, Riley used her extensive network of social media followers—spread across various platforms like Facebook and Twitter—to con $100,000 out of a crop of charitable souls. In addition to her social media, Riley, 36, created a blog that documented her "condition" and "treatment."
Federal authorities said Riley raised $105,513 in the fraud scheme after alleging on social media and her blog that she was battling Hodgkin's lymphoma. She received 349 donations from individuals and entities through her fake cancer fundraising scheme.
Prosecutors said the scheme began in 2012 when the former principal, who was then living in San Jose, began posting on social media, including on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as on a blog about her cancer diagnosis.
On the sites, she wrote about her so-called cancer journey and the treatments she was receiving, even posting photos of her hospitals stays, the drugs she was taking, and the chemotherapy side effects she was experiencing.
Riley, prosecutors said, also shaved her head to make it look like she lost her hair due to cancer treatment.
Her blog, titled "Lymphoma Can Suck It," also contained a link to a support page titled "Amanda's Battle with Cancer," where you could donate money.