Judge: Mom caused 'unspeakable' harm to family with fake cancer claims

Aug. 16, 2013 at 1:50 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A 41-year-old Pennsylvania woman did "unspeakable" damage to her family, friends and children by falsely claiming she was dying from cancer, a judge says.

The comments by Superior Court Judge James W. Palmer Jr. were made as he sentenced Lori E. Stilley to community service for her conviction on theft by deception, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday.

Stilley had received nearly $12,000 in donations from 300 people in 20 states after she claimed in February 2011 that she was dying from terminal bladder cancer.

She also sold an online book detailing her struggle with the disease and family members held fundraisers for her.

Her fraud was discovered in November 2011 when Stilley announced she had been miraculously cured just before she planned to enter a hospice.

Palmer said the "most disturbing" aspect of her lie was the emotional damage she had inflicted on her children.

He sentenced her to 500 hours of community service, the maximum possible, plus restitution. The judge said he wasn't going to sentence her to jail because she still had custody of her two children, ages 8 and 13.

"I'm almost speechless," Palmer told Stilley. " It's despicable what you've done."

Palmer said he was so disturbed by the "cruelty" and "abuse" Stilley had inflicted on her children he was sending a transcript of the sentencing hearing to the family court considering who should get custody of her children.

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