Mom faces 95 charges in alleged child cancer hoax

A mother from the southern Nevada town of Mesquite is charged with 95 misdemeanors after police said she falsely claimed her 7-year-old son had cancer and she tried to profit from the scheme.

Shawnanna Starr Flores Guerrero, 36, turned herself in Monday evening at the Mesquite Police Department after she was told about a warrant for her arrest, police said.

She was booked in jail and was expected to appear in court Tuesday on the charges, which include 32 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, 32 counts of unlawful acts involving data transmission, 29 counts of petit larceny, one count of obstructing an officer and one count of contributory neglect of a child.

It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Flores is accused of telling people her son had a rare form of liver cancer known as hepatoblastoma. Several fundraisers were organized on his behalf, including a car wash that raised more than $400 and a garage sale.

In addition, a fund was established for the youth at Wells Fargo Bank, and money jars were placed in businesses around Mesquite, which is about 85 miles northeast of Las Vegas, near the Arizona border.

Investigators say future fundraisers were scheduled in the town to assist the child. The case came to light when organizers of one of them dropped him from the list of beneficiaries after Flores failed to provide documentation of her son’s liver cancer.

Flores initially was arrested in early September on more severe felony charges, but those were never filed. Mesquite police Sgt. Maquade Chesley said that’s because many of the donations were small, and the overall case could fold if not enough witnesses showed up in court.

With misdemeanor charges, individual charges may be dropped if witnesses don’t appear, but at least some of the charges are likely to stand, Chesley said.

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