Lori E. Stilley, 40, of Delran Township, was arrested and charged with theft by deception Wednesday for the scheme, the Gloucester County (N.J.) Times reported.
Stilley allegedly told friends and family in February 2011 that she had been diagnosed with Stage III bladder cancer, said a statement from Burlington County Prosecutor's Office. She also told them she had undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
In April 2011, Stilley allegedly said the cancer had progressed to Stage IV and that she didn't have health insurance to cover her medical bills, the statement said.
Her friends and relatives organized multiple fundraisers that raised $9,400 for Stilley's cause, the statement said. She also raised more than $3,000 from sales of an e-book about her daily struggle with cancer.
Stilley further said she wanted to marry her boyfriend before she died, prosecutors said. Her loved ones planned and paid for a wedding for the couple.
In November, when Stilley was supposed to enter hospice care, she allegedly posted on her Facebook page she was feeling better and that she felt a miracle coming.
Stilley never checked into hospice care, prompting suspicion among her friends and family and a police investigation.
The investigation found that Stilley was never diagnosed with cancer and the woman was charged. She surrendered in police Wednesday.
"Cancer causes so much pain and hardship for those who are suffering through it, as well as for family members and friends," Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi said. "For this defendant to represent that she was dying from this terrible disease for the sake of personal gain and sympathy goes way beyond simply being a criminal offense. It was extremely cruel to those who were concerned and worked hard to lend assistance."
Stilley is free on $25,000 bail.
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