INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis woman has agreed to plead guilty to forgery for collecting nearly $1,500 in donations by falsely claiming her 10-year-old son had cancer.
Stephanie Weddle 33, will face up to four years in community corrections under the plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop a second forgery count and a theft charge, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday (http://indy.st/1fdnQRT ).
Weddle also must make restitution of $1,466. She collected $1,250 raised by a wrestling coach and never paid $216 to a youth baseball group for T-shirts and wrist bands earmarked for fundraising related to the cancer claim, prosecutors said.
The forgery charge stemmed from documents Weddle allegedly created purporting to be from Community Health Network and Riley Hospital for Children, investigators said.
Weddle told investigators that doctors treating her son for an asthma-related issue “saw a spot on his lung while examining an X-ray,” according to a police report.
Weddle told coaches and parents affiliated with her son’s baseball and wrestling teams about “the spot, and it may be cancer,” the report said, but did not inform them when a doctor determined the boy did not have cancer.
A police detective who happened to coach the boy in baseball became suspicious because the boy did not show signs of having gone through radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
“Stephanie Weddle said after telling the people about her son having cancer they all began to help her financially,” the report said, “and she kept up the ruse and accepted the money.”
Investigators said Weddle admitted using the donations to buy gas, pay utility bills and to cover registration fees for her children’s sports programs.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com