A Virginia mother was sentenced on Dec. 21 to three months in prison after falsely claiming her daughter had cancer and collecting thousands of dollars in donations from friends and co-workers.
Katie Patterson, 26, resigned from her position as a school bus driver on Jan. 5, 2015 after it was revealed that her 4-year-old daughter’s supposed cancer was a sham, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Patterson told friends and co-workers her daughter had terminal leukemia in September 2015. She collected more than $2,000 in donations before her deceit came to light five months later.
One of Patterson's friends spotted the little girl, who was perfectly healthy, and reported it to a supervisor.
When confronted, Chesterfield prosecutor Reneen Hewlett said Patterson presented a fake doctor’s note stating her daughter had terminal cancer. She later admitted that she made the whole thing up after suffering some financial difficulties.
Patterson pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to obtaining money under false pretenses. She was sentenced in December to three months in prison and 10 years' probation. During her sentencing, Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III said Patterson’s behavior was “horrible” and a serious betrayal of her friends' trust.
One of the victim’s of Patterson’s deceit was Deborah Knight. Knight, who survived breast cancer twice, had gone out of her way to help Patterson’s daughter. She told WTRV she felt betrayed by Patterson.
“She stole their friendships; she stole their hearts,” Hewlett told the court.
Patterson said she regretted her lie and said that the story quickly “snowballed” out of control, the Daily Mail reported.
She has been attending counseling and volunteering at Noah’s Children hospice program, which provides support to families who have loved ones with life-threatening conditions.