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Woman accused of cancer scam
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP)--When Lori Stilley told her friends and family that she had bladder cancer, they delivered meals, held raffles and a T-shirt sale, hastily planned and paid for her wedding and raised more than $10,000 for her treatment.
But prosecutors say it was all a scam.
Stilley, a 40-year-old who lives in Delran, N.J., was charged Wednesday with theft by deception, charges her lawyer denies.
Authorities say she told family and friends in February 2011 that she had stage 3 bladder cancer and would need chemotherapy and radiation. Two months later, she told them--and posted on her Facebook page and personal website--that it was now stage 4, which means the cancer was spreading to other parts of her body.
Her friends and supporters pitched in the way people often do for sick loved ones: making a schedule of meal deliveries and--when she said she didn't have medical insurance--raising money.
The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office said family and friends also hastily planned and paid for her wedding to her boyfriend last year.
Stilley even wrote an e-book about her experience. Selling for $14.99 a copy, she raised more than $3,000.
Her own sister says she was the one who turned in Stilley. Lori DiGiovanni told WCAU-TV that she became suspicious when Stilley's story changed quickly. Soon after telling friends and family that she was making hospice plans and was being given a month to live, she posted on Facebook that she felt a miracle coming and was feeling better.
DiGiovanni said she believes her sister needs mental health help.
Stilley's lawyer, however, said she did not do anything wrong.