May 24, 2018 ( Courtesy of CTVNews.ca) – A Calgary woman has been charged with fraud after police say she was collecting money through various fundraising campaigns for cancer treatments she didn’t need.
Police said the 30-year-old woman set up a GoFundMe page and even organized a raffle with false prizes to raise money after she claimed she was diagnosed with cancer.
Investigators received a tip about the woman and searched her medical records where they discovered she had never been diagnosed with the disease.
The raffle raised $10,000 and offered two WestJet gift certificates claiming to be worth $8,000 as prizes, but investigators discovered they weren’t valid documents.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission also confirmed that a license for the raffle was never filed.
The GoFundMe campaign raised nearly $6,000. In total, the woman managed to raise more than $16,000.
Nicky Arsenault worked with the woman and said she donated to her fundraising efforts.
“You don’t want to question it,” she told CTV Calgary on Tuesday. “You just automatically think someone’s sick and you want to do the best you can to help them.”
Arsenault said the woman went to great lengths to appear sick.
“She even went to extremes to shave her head and cut her skin and call them cancer bumps. [She took] time off work for these fake surgeries that didn’t actually happen so it was kind of extreme measure to make us all believe that she was actually ill.”
Police described the scam as “elaborate” and said the woman took extra steps to make her story believable.
GoFundMe said in a statement that it closed the fundraising campaign and banned its organizer from the website. The company also said all of the donations would be refunded and they were working “closely” with law enforcement.
Krysta-Lyn Williams, 30, is charged with one count of fraud over $5,000. She has been released from custody and is due in court in June.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.