Plenty of people like to donate money to a good, charitable cause or nonprofit organization. And usually, a little girl with cancer is the best kind of charitable cause. There’s no way it could be wrong to help a sick child in need. Unless, of course, that child’s cancer and the charity behind it is an elaborate lie.

You wouldn’t think that fake cancer would be high up on the list of ways to steal money from people, but one Utah mom decided it was the best way to go about doing so. She collected thousands of dollars for cancer treatment from her community when her daughter never actually had cancer in the first place.


Thousands of Dollars Stolen in Fake Cancer Scam

When it comes to scams involving a four-year-old having fake cancer, Abreail Denise “Abby” Winkler probably takes the cake. This 30-year-old mother from Utah convinced a number of people that her daughter had cancer. Even the girl’s father (who, it’s worth mentioning, doesn’t live with his wife or daughter) was duped into believing the little girl was battling leukemia.

Not only was Winkler able to convince members of her community that her daughter had cancer, but she was able to talk them into giving her money to help pay for treatments, as well. The young girl was apparently coached to talk about her cancer as though it were a real thing. All this helped Winkler make off with about three grand in donations from her friends, family members, and various members of the community.

A color photo of a doctor and some medical equipment.

A Utah mother raised a good amount of money that she told people was for her daughter’s cancer treatment.

Thorough Thievery

A color photo of an IV drip.

Many community members were angry to learn that they had donated money to a fraudster.

Abby Winkler was anything but a slouch, in terms of her fake cancer scam. This scheming mother had just about all her bases covered, even training her 4-year-old daughter to pretend that the leukemia was real.

She had also convinced an entire high school drill team to hold a fundraiser, and even went door-to-door at one point, basically campaigning for donations to help her little girl fight cancer.

Obviously, members of her community are furious over this deception. They obviously feel as though they’ve been duped, and are most certainly hoping that there will be some way for them to get their money back.

And Winkler? Things aren’t looking so good for the mom-turned-scammer.

Cancer Scam Mother Awaiting Trial

For her troubles, Abby Winkler is currently awaiting trial. She’s out on $5000 bail and is being charged with communications fraud. This is a third degree felony. If she’s convicted, it’s entirely likely she’ll spend time behind bars.

Probably a good thing, too; pretending that your kid has cancer so you can steal donation money is one of the more heinous scams we could think of, and we’ve seen a lot here at Scambook.

In the meantime, this situation definitely raises some important questions. How can we make sure we’re not giving our money away to a completely fraudulent cause?

Luckily enough, this type of scam isn’t terribly common. Still, it helps to do your due diligence. Don’t give money to someone you don’t know, or to treat someone’s disease if you’ve never met the afflicted individual. When you do a bit of asking and find out exactly what your donation will be going towards, it’s relatively easy to make sure you’re not being conned.

Do you have any good tips? Share them with us in the comments!


See Also

Police Charge Scammer For Defrauding Boston Marathon Bombing Charity
3 New Anti-Scam Tips for Donating to Philippines Typhoon Relief Aid Charity
NY Attorney General Shuts Down Breast Cancer Charity Scam

About The Author

Sean Boulger is a freelance writer and storytelling enthusiast living in LA. He loves television, pop culture, minimalism, and two cats.

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One Response

  1. Pamela Craghill

    It makes me sad to think that someone can do this. People like me who have a terminally ill daughter feel that people will wonder if you are doing something so disgusting.


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