Raising money to help a child who is suffering from cancer is one of those causes that even the coldest heart would warm up just a little to help a family grappling with the terror of cancer treatment. That is why when Stephanie Weddle, 33, reached out for help with her 10-year-old son’s cancer treatment; the community stepped up to help.
However, Weddle was soon discovered to be at the heart of a scam, falsely claiming her son had cancer, walking away with thousands of dollars in fundraising dollars, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The Indianapolis Star reports that the plea does not list a specific sentence length, but it caps any sentence at a maximum of four years. She will serve her time with Community Corrections, which offers monitored programs as alternatives to incarceration, according to the Indianapolis Star. She is also required to make restitution in the amount of $1,466.
The official charges alleged that Weddle “did knowingly exert unauthorized control” over $1,250 raised by former Ben Davis wrestling coach and teacher Jacob O’Neill for help in paying her son’s medical expenses.
Charges state that O’Neil wrote three checks to the Weddle family for a total of $1,250. Also, the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association established a bank account for Weddle, with the account having a zero balance as of Aug 8. The Indy Predators youth baseball group gave Weddle t-shirts and wrist bands to sell under the condition that she would repay the cost of the items and could keep the profits from sales. She never repaid the organization.
Weddle had allegedly used money from these fundraisers to buy gas, pay bills and cover registration fees for her children’s sports programs.
Weddle’s story began to unravel when her son’s baseball coach became suspicious because the son “has shown no signs of being ill from going through radiation treatment and chemotherapy.” After an investigation into her claims and check of the medical facilities, it was discovered the boy had never been treated for cancer.
According to the Indianapolis Star, during a July 30 interview with police, she admitted that her son was never diagnosed with cancer. However, a spot was discovered on his lung during an X-ray after being sent to the doctor with asthma-related issues. Weddle reportedly told coaches and parents about the spot and that it was possible cancer; however she did not tell people when the spot was found to not be cancer.