California woman collected $100k from fake cancer fundraising

  • Amanda Riley was sentenced to five years in prison after faking cancer
  • Riley upheld the charade for seven years before the IRS uncovered the truth
  • One attorney says the sentence is high because of the nature of the lie

(NewsNation) — A California woman claiming to have cancer scammed more than 300 family members, friends and strangers out of roughly $105,000 for fake cancer treatments.

She has now been sentenced to five years in prison.

Amanda Christine Riley, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in October. Her lie was uncovered after the Internal Revenue Service began investigating her in 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Riley’s seven-year scam involved her shaving her head, falsifying medical records and forging doctors’ signatures to convince 349 different people and organizations that she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system.

Riley even went as far as suing one person who suggested she was faking it, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Scamanda,” a new podcast by Lionsgate Sound, details how an anonymous tip to an investigative producer led to the unraveling of Riley’s lies.

The scam started in October 2012, when Riley launched a blog detailing her fictitious battle with cancer, prosecutors say. She continued to document her made-up journey with cancer across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, soliciting donations for medical treatments.

“She was looking at 20 years and ultimately her defense attorney asked the court for five. I think for $100,000. That’s not a low amount of time. That’s actually pretty high,” Criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson said. “It was the nature of the lie that I think got her the five years because obviously lying about having cancer when there are people who are affected and tragedy. It was shameless.”

After her five-year sentence, Riley will have another three years of supervision and will be made to pay back the $105,000 she stole.


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