College student said she was dying of cancer — but never did

She allegedly defrauded an instructor of thousands of dollars by falsely claiming to have the disease.

EDMONDS — An Edmonds Community College student faked a cancer diagnosis, tricked an instructor into giving her $6,000 for her bucket list and forged two $1 million checks to say thank you, according to charges filed in Snohomish County.

The woman, 24, of Bothell, told one of her community college teachers she had a terminal illness in late 2016, according to the charges. The Edmonds woman took her into her home, cared for her and fed her. She gave the student thousands of dollars, so she could go on vacations as part of her supposed last wishes.

The student told the instructor she had just weeks to live. In front of her benefactor, the young woman allegedly used a wheelchair and breathed with the help of oxygen tanks. This went on for 15 weeks, according to the charges. Over time, the instructor came to suspect it was a charade. The student was vomiting what appeared to be blood, court papers say. The instructor thought the blood was fake.

In March 2017, the student wrote one check to the instructor and another check to a caretaker. Both were for $1 million. She claimed she had a $4.1 million inheritance, and that she wanted to give the money to someone who cared.

The instructor did not think the woman had the money. So she called Edmonds police and showed them the checks.

An officer confronted the student March 21, 2017, at the instructor’s home. He told her he’d seen no evidence that she had cancer. She admitted to him that she was not sick, and that she was just trying to get sympathy, the charges say. She removed the oxygen tubes, rose from the wheelchair and walked to a living room couch.

She reportedly told police she’d been lying: She didn’t have millions in the bank. She’d had mental health issues in the past, she told police, and she asked to go to the hospital. The officer arranged for her to be taken to Swedish/Edmonds.

Snohomish County prosecutors filed felony charges in April. The defendant was arraigned this week on charges of first-degree theft.

The instructor did not respond to a phone call or email this week from The Daily Herald. The student had no prior criminal record.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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