Woman faces criminal charges for allegedly faking cancer diagnosis, raising $10K in donations

Jim Melwert
November 05, 2019 - 4:43 pm
Jessica Smith

Chester County District Attorney's Office

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A Chester Springs woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly fabricating that she had cancer so she could raise money online for herself.

Jessica Smith, 31, is accused of creating a GoFundMe page and a Facebook donations page, where she claimed she was receiving treatment for colorectal cancer. She said she had a $15,000 deductible, and medical bills were beginning to pile up, in addition to money lost from not being able to work and travel costs. 

Her husband, however, told police their deductible is actually $1,250, and there are no outstanding medical bills or any records of cancer treatment.

“Everyone’s worst nightmare is getting a cancer diagnosis, and this woman preyed upon people’s generosity to steal money from them,” said Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Mike Noone.

Smith netted more than $10,000 in the scam.

“This defendant is charged with theft by deception because she deceived people by telling them she had cancer to try to get them to give her money,” Noone added.

She also showed a fake death certificate so her father could get a day off work.

A photo on the GoFundMe page, which is shared under the name Jessica Veronica Cornell, shows Smith with a shaved head and hooked up to a machine, claiming it was for chemo treatments. But, according to the criminal complaint, when police checked with doctors, they learned there was never any cancer diagnosis or treatment. 

Instead, the pictures were from a therapy session when Smith received iron transfusions to treat anemia.