Faribault Man Caught Faking Cancer Pleads Guilty To Theft By Swindle
A Faribault man who falsely claimed to have cancer and received over $17,000 in donations and was facing a felony charge, pleaded guilty to theft by swindle Wednesday. Thirty-eight-year-old Jeremiah Jon Smith has been scheduled to be sentenced in January.
It all started back in May of 2016 when Smith claimed to have terminal cancer and saying he had only 18 to 24 months to live. A month later, he then shortened his life expectancy to only six months.
A GoFundMe fundraiser was created to help him, and that online fundraiser raised more than $6,800. Before that online fundraiser, there was in February 2016, two different fundraising events held for Smith, which raised more than $9,000.
$4,000 of the money raised was spent on Smith's outstanding bills. The rest of the money according to KSTP-TV was spent on the "Clash of Clans" video game, drinking, dart tournaments, and marijuana.
Smith early on in the investigation claimed that he went to multiple doctor appointments but refused to allow his wife to accompany him. It was also during this time, he quit his job and told multiple stories about how he received his diagnosis.
Smith's wife was unable to find any medical records corroborating his cancer story. At the time Smith said he would provide those records to investigators, but never did. KSTP-TV also stated in an online article that in November 2016, investigators obtained a search warrant to search Smith's medical records at Olmsted Medical Hospital. Smith's records did not contain any information about having cancer.
In October of 2017 in a WCCO-TV interview John Fossum the Rice County attorney said that Jeremiah Smith had been charged with a felony, but because he has no criminal history, he will likely get probation, not prison time.