A California woman is now facing jail time after leading people to believe she had terminal cancer in order to get donation money and gifts.
CBS Los Angeles reported that 39-year-old Christina Lagman of Riverside County created a Facebook account where she posted her story of having terminal cancer and claiming to have weeks to live. After receiving attention from the public, she began asking for donations.
Valerie Cortes was one of several people who donated money to Lagman after learning about her illness. Although Lagman looked the part of a cancer patient with a shaved head, Cortes had her suspicions when her behavior seemed odd and began questioning Lagman.
When Lagman’s answers didn’t seem genuine, Cortes began conducting an investigation where she later learned that Lagman was previously convicted of fraud and embezzlement.
Cortes immediately reported her to Murrieta police.
“She was very believable. She was very convincing. She wrote long messages on her Facebook page that were just so heart wrenching about being scared and alone,” Cortes stated.
“See that pink bag? That’s the bag. She had three of them going around the room. It says ‘Cancer sucks’ and everyone was putting cash in them, she told the media.”
After being questioned, Lagman posted on her Facebook that she could prove that she was suffering from terminal cancer to anyone that didn’t believe her. She also added that they are “more than welcome to take me to the doctor and pay the bill.” When Cortes responded with “I’ll do it,” she immediately removed her from Facebook.
“It struck a chord with me. I have three friends that are fighting for their life right now.”
“I want other people to ask questions. Don’t just believe somebody because they say it and they shave their head.”
During police interrogation, Lagman showed investigators a letter from her physician to prove that she was suffering from terminal cancer. However, investigators investigated further and discovered that the document was a fake.
Lagman was placed under arrest and was held on a $25,000 bond.
During her court hearing Wednesday, Lagman pleaded guilty to “theft on false pretenses,” according to 10tv.
Not only is Lagman ordered to repay her victims who made donations to her, but she is facing less than three years in jail for the crime.
The terminal cancer fraud will be sentenced next month.
[Image courtesy of Matthew Burpee/Flickr]