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College student faked cancer, scammed supporters, police say


by: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A Northern Kentucky University student is accused of faking cancer and scamming supporters out of $7,500.

According to WXIX, police said Kelly Schmahl, 20, began pretending to have stage 3 gastrointestinal cancer in June, tricking her caregiver and supporters into helping fund her so-called treatment. She also fooled people into thinking that health care workers were fielding her calls and texts, police said.

Schmahl could be charged with grand theft or theft by deception, WXIX reported.

Schmahl’s parents said they also believed that their daughter had cancer.

“Our daughter is a caring, loving yet troubled young woman who is currently undergoing treatment for issues that precipitated this pretense and the results of it,” they said in a statement to WXIX and WAFB, adding that they “are anxious to learn what happened to the money that was raised for Kelly.”

The Delta Zeta Kappa Beta sorority had planned to hold a fundraiser for Schmahl in April.

“It has recently come to our attention that DZ is the unknowing victim of a crime,” the sorority wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “Delta Zeta, nor its members, had any knowledge of whatever activities Ms. Schmahl may have been involved in.”

The event, set for April 22, will continue as a benefit for Chicks and Chucks, a breast cancer charity, the sorority said.

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