A Yuma, Ariz., woman has received a jail sentence and probation after lying about having cancer and collecting donations from friends and coworkers.
Kody Grode was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a 36-month term of supervised probation. The 24-year-old woman was also ordered to repay her victims.
In 2012, Grode told her best friend and her coworkers at a local day care that she had stage III ovarian cancer. Through fundraisers and personal donations, she reportedly collected between $2,000 and $3,000 from people who wanted to help.
"Kody played a very ugly, calculated game until she got caught," said Clara Tolomei while reading her daughter's victim statement, according to KYMA. Tolomei's daughter and Grode had been best friends for nine years.
"Everything she did was premeditated," Tolomei said while reading the letter. "Cancer is not a joke — it is very real. Kody made a mockery out of cancer and out of the people who fight for their lives."
Tolomei said her daughter was too devastated to read the letter in court herself.
"I saw my daughter fall apart," Tolomei said. "This was going through a time when my father was dying of cancer. Gina [Tolomei's daughter] was very close to him, so she was torn between the both of them, thinking she was going to lose both of them."
Prior to sentencing her, Yuma County Superior Court Judge Maria Elena Cruz spoke at great length to Grode about how she not only lied and took advantage of people's trust, but was a slap in the face to anyone who had cancer and their loved ones.
“I hope that during the time that you are in custody, you will take that opportunity to reflect on how you got there,” Cruz said, according to the Yuma Sun. “Because Mrs. Grode, if you don't get to the bottom of how you could do something like this, in such a calculated, callous and cold manner, more problems are going to arise down the road in your life.”
Grode, who offered no reason for her actions, did apologize to the court. While wiping tears from her eyes she said, “I'm really sorry for what I have done and wish I could take it all back.”
Grode was taken into custody following the hearing to begin serving her prison sentence.