Susan Stillwaggon, a New Jersey mom, used her 9-year-old son as bait for some extra money.
Stillwaggon told friends family and community members that her young son was suffering from Stage Three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she also lied to her son about it.
“Stillwaggon led her son to believe that he suffered from the fatal illness,” said Pennsauken Township Police Department in a press release. “Investigation confirmed that the boy does not suffer from any life-threatening illnesses.”
An anonymous tipster alerted authorities to the scam. Stillwaggon had accepted $3,500 in money donated for her son’s treatment.
“There were events help,” Pennsauken Detectives Sgt. Chryl Duffy told ABCNews.com. “There were probably 10 different people that organized some kind of something, be it a cupcake sale or those little Livestrong-type rubber bracelets. I’ve got kids walking around with canisters, and I’ve got Bingo evnts.”
Stillwaggon has been charged with theft by deception, forgery, endangering the welfare of a child and using a child to commit a criminal offense. She has not been arrested yet. She is in a hospital receiving psychiatric treatment.
While it is not clear when the scam began, authorities believe it’s been going on since at least March.
Stillwaggon’s first court appearance will be on May 2.
Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant