October 20, 2017

Minnesota man faked cancer, spent donations on weed, video games, prosecutor says

11 October 2017, 10:37 | Silvia Roy

MN man charged with faking cancer, collecting donations

The county attorney says because Jeremiah Smith has no criminal history he will likely get probation not prison time

Besides the GoFundMe account, two benefits were held for the defendant which raised a total of more than $15,000. He also stated that Smith was seen by a surgeon for "small lipomas inside the abdominal walls", but that they weren't cancerous.

"It is surprising", said Rice County Attorney John Fossum. Some of the money went towards paying off $4,000 in outstanding bills and the rest was spent on alcohol, marijuana, dart tournaments and the mobile video game Clash of Clans.

Last week, Jeremiah Jon Smith, 37, was charged with theft by swindle, according to CBS Minnesota. Another benefit was held in Northfield on February 20. This in addition to his GoFundMe page, which brought it $6,800.

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"I'm fairly confident that Mr. Smith was the only one that was aware that he wasn't sick when they were planning these fundraisers. He was acting like a con man", Fossum said. She couldn't get her husband to sign a consent form allowing her to see his medical records. "And started asking more questions".

Later that month, detectives from Faribault and Northfield talked to Smith, who said he would try to send the records after an upcoming doctor's appointment.

After receiving information that Smith may be guilty of carrying out a swindle Detectives from both the Faribault Police Department and the Rice County Sheriff's Department went to interview Smith and were promised he would provide medical records proving his cancer.

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A Minnesota man was able to raise nearly $23,000 for medical care and treatment, however police say he was never sick and that he spent the cash on things like marijuana and video games.

"People contributed over $20,000 to help pay for this, which again, he blew on things that he wanted to spend money on", Fossum said. "And the people who contributed feel betrayed because how could you feel anything else", Fossum said. At one point, Smith said he received a phone call about the diagnosis; he later said a nurse told him in person, according to KTTC. He's scheduled to appear in court next month and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. With that said, there are instances where individuals try to take advantage of others' generosity.

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