FARIBAULT, Minn. - A 37-year-old Faribault man is charged with theft by swindle after faking a cancer diagnosis to collect thousands of dollars in donations.
Rice County prosecutors say Jeremiah Jon Smith told people he had stage 4 cancer, and collected nearly $7,000 from a 'GoFundMe' account based on the fraudulent claim. Investigators say Smith told people he had only six months to live, and that he had gone to two or three appointments with a specialist but refused to allow his wife to come along.
Besides the GoFundMe account, two benefits were held for the defendant which raised a total of more than $15,000. Investigators allege he used $4,000 to pay bills, spending the rest on a video game, darts and drinking, and pot.
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. He never did. Search warrants obtained by investigators to search Smith's medical records and question his doctor turned up nothing to support his claims of cancer.
If found guilty Jeremiah Jon Smith faces a 10-year prison sentence.
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