It seems to be a common occurrence nowadays to hear that someone is using their own kids as a scamming tool in an effort to get hard-earned money from others. This happened when Katie Patterson from Chesterfield County, Virginia, told friends and family that her 4-year-old daughter had cancer. She collected thousands in donations from them, but she was caught in her web of lies after months of deceit.
Patterson was sentenced on December 21 to prison for three months after falsely claiming that her daughter was afflicted with cancer. Friends and coworkers learned that the whole thing was a complete sham.
Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that 26-year-old Patterson resigned from her job as a school bus driver on January 15, 2015, after her hoax was exposed.
When the mom told friends and coworkers that her daughter had leukemia in September 2014, she collected over $2,000 in donations. Her scheming ways were uncovered five months later. It happened when one of the woman’s friends noticed the girl looking perfectly healthy and reported it to a supervisor. When Patterson was confronted about her daughter’s condition, she had a phony doctor’s note which claimed the little girl had cancer. Patterson later on admitted that she was struggling financially and made up the whole story.
On September 28, Katie Patterson pleaded guilty to raking in money due to fabricating the story. As a result, she’s been sentenced to three months in prison and one-year probation.
Katie Patterson sentenced to jail for obtaining money under false pretenses in cancer scheme. – https://t.co/nvi6sFv32i
— CBS19 ABC16 FOX27 (@Newsplex) December 22, 2015
Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III presided over Patterson’s sentencing, deeming her behavior as “horrible” and being a betrayal of her friends’ trust.
Perhaps one of the saddest parts about this mother lying about her daughter having cancer was the effect it had on a friend who’s also a breast cancer survivor. Deborah Knight went the distance in helping Patterson when she believed that her young daughter was ill, WTRV reports.
Knight testified that Patterson once told her that her daughter wanted to see snow before she died, so she rented a snow-making machine for $300 so she could make one of the girl’s wishes come true. According to the report, this claim was never verified.
Others who fell victim to Patterson’s fraudulent claims were fellow school bus drivers and aides over the course of several months
“She stole their friendships; she stole their hearts,” Chesterfield prosecutor Renee Hewlett told the court.
Coworkers of Patterson who attended the hearing in the courtroom said it wasn’t about the money, but what Patterson put them through emotionally. One of them said Patterson claimed that her father had also died. Ironically, her father was sitting behind Patterson in the court room.
Patterson apologized for the lie and said that it was a story that rapidly “snowballed.”
The mother who made up the deceitful cancer tale about her daughter is now seeking counseling and volunteering at Noah’s Children hospice program; it provides specialized care and support to families with loved ones facing life-threatening health conditions.
Judge Rockwell said that Katie Patterson’s lies made an impact on him because he finds himself questioning people who beg on the street. He said he wonders if they’re telling the truth.
As the report by Richmond-Times Dispatch wrote, “Rockwell then departed above the state guidelines, sentencing Patterson to five years in prison with four years and nine months suspended, and sent her immediately to jail. Patterson earlier had made restitution for an amount that could be documented — more than $2,000 — but her former friends said total donations exceeded $3,000.”
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