MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Faribault man admitted he was lying when he told his family and friends he had cancer, pleading guilty to raising thousands of dollars for treatment when he wasn’t sick.
Darlene Asher felt compelled to set up a fundraiser for fellow dart player Jeremiah Smith after she learned he had terminal cancer.
“Shame on him. Shame on him for hurting everybody, putting his family through this,” Asher said. “He was not going to do chemo or radiation because it had spread so far and they had only given him about six months to live.”
The event that raised roughly $9,000. People contributed another $5,000 through a GoFundMe. But Smith wasn’t dying and he didn’t have cancer.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how sad I am. He has taken a lot more than just money from all of us. We question everybody now when they need help,” Asher said.
The case came together when his wife couldn’t find medical records to back up Smith’s cancer claims.
“He took the money. He spent the money on drugs, video games, alcohol, whatever he felt like. And he wasn’t sick,” Asher said.
Smith pleaded guilty to theft by swindle. A judge is expected to sentence him to 10 years’ probation and 480 hours of community service.
“There’s anger, there’s a lot of anger. I feel like for what he is going to get out of this, it’s not going to stop someone else from doing this,” Asher said.
A judge will sentence Smith in January. His wife said she thinks he should go to prison.
People who contributed to Smith’s fundraisers are encouraged to contact the Rice County Attorney’s Office, or the Rice County Community Corrections Office, to make claims for restitution. The Rice County Attorney’s Office Victims Services Coordinator is Shawn Becker, and he can be contacted at 507-332-5934 or via email.