BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A judge has sentenced an Alabama woman to more than two years in federal prison for using a cancer scam to solicit more than $260,000 in donations from people wanting to help her.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins also ordered 37-year-old Jennifer Flynn Cataldo of Sterrett, Alabama, to pay about $80,000 in restitution to her victims during a hearing Wednesday.
Authorities say Cataldo began falsely claiming she had cancer in 2014. From then until early this year, they say, she fraudulently took in money from friends, family and donors to an online fundraising site.
A plea agreement says Cataldo collected about $264,000 in all. She used some of the money to buy as many as 40 non-prescribed opioid painkillers a day.
Cataldo pleaded guilty to fraud charges in August.