1. Colorado resident Sandy Nguyen raised more than $25,000 last year for her son who she claimed had cancer — but it turns out he was never sick.
2. The 28-year-old mother was arrested March 13 for telling her family, friends, and her 6-year-old son himself that he had cancer in order to raise money, Denver’s ABC7 reports.
3. After investigators obtained a warrant and searched Nguyen’s Aurora, Colo., home, they said they found $23,000 in cash. That was when Nguyen admitted her son never had cancer.
4. The money Nguyen collected through donations at Rolling Hills Elementary School and around the community was used in part to fund a trip to Disneyland.
5. Arapahoe County Police Captain Larry Etheridge said to his knowledge, no one else was involved in the scam.
“We don’t have any reason to believe that anyone other than her knew the truth,” Etheridge said. “The little boy believed he had cancer. The rest of the family believed he had cancer.”
He added, “She’s taken the stance that she kind of got in over her head and didn’t know what to do.”
6. Family friend Jordan Miller, who helped raise money for the child, said she got “physically sick” when she found out about the hoax.
“Not only did she scam us out of money, and hurt us, but she hurt that boy,” Miller said.
7. Nguyen claimed in June 2013 that their family was “told he probably only had 8 more months with them,” according to a website promoting a charity walk for her son.
The fundraiser website, which was promoting an October 2013 5K charity walk and run for the boy, claimed he had been diagnosed in April 2012 with “an aggressive, rare, stage 3 childhood bone cancer and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.”
The site, which said the boy had was fighting cancer for the third time, also said the boy initially “received 317 days of chemotherapy, 7 days of radiation, multiple blood & platelet transfusions, monthly spinal taps, biopsies, and MRI’s.”
8. In Facebook photos, Nguyen’s son sported a bald head, as if he had been receiving treatment.
Nguyen’s Facebook page has since been taken down.
9. Besides events at the boy’s school, Nguyen raised money through donations by students, parents, school staff, and other community members
“We are deeply troubled by these allegations and saddened to learn that an adult may have taken advantage of an innocent child and our school community wrote Rolling Hills Elementary School Principal Darla Thompson in a March 14 letter to parents. “It is important for our community to continue to show support and compassion for this child, who is also a victim in this case. The child was wrongfully led to believe that he was ill, and he was not responsible for the parent’s alleged actions.”
10. Nguyen is now facing two felony charges of theft and criminal impersonation.
She has been released from jail since posting a $10,000 bond.