Some people want money, but refuse to work hard to get it. Instead they come up with schemes to dupe others out of their hard-earned money.
Shelby County, Alabama – Jennifer Flynn Cataldo, a 37-year-old mother and wife, reportedly collected over $260,000 since 2014, for a terminal cancer she didn’t have.
Jennifer’s scheme was so big, that even those closest to her, were convinced she would die within a year. Jennifer had everyone feeling sorry for her, including perfect strangers.
But after she was found out to be a big liar, it was Jennifer who now sat in front of a judge, hoping for sympathy to be tossed her way.
Lucky for Jenn ,pleading guilty to federal fraud charges, only left her with a short sentence.
On Wednesday Jennifer Cataldo was sentenced to 25 months and 20 days in prison.
Cataldo was first arrested in May after years of fraud. Not only was she arrested by the state on two counts of first-degree theft by deception (these are still pending). She then faced a 15-count federal indictment, with eight counts of wire fraud and seven counts of bank fraud, AL.com reported.
Combined, the charges were originally believed to land her in jail for up to 50 years, but the verdict deemed less severe once 13 of the federal fraud charges were dismissed. U.S. District Judge Virginia Hopkins also reportedly took into account the time she’d already served while the federal charge was pending.
According to court documents, the total amount Cataldo deposited into her personal account through this scheme was $264,163.
Caltodo used Facebook and text messages to solicit donations from family, friends and people she never met. Two of her GoFundMe page raked in over $38,000. One of the campaigns was called, “Mom Has Terminal Cancer Disney Trip” to fund a “last trip” before she was supposedly going to pass away. The other page was created by her friend, who, thinking Cataldo was terminally ill, wanted to help raise money for medical costs.
“Not only did she fake cancer to take their money, she used her minor child as part of her ruse and allowed the child to believe his mother was dying,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said to WHNT News 19. “She has earned every nickel of her punishment.”
Cataldo’s attorney, Adam Danneman, said that things went downhill after her brother died. She became dependent on prescription painkillers and actually used part of the donations she’d received to support that drug use.
Following her release, Cataldo will serve three years of probation and complete mental health and drug counseling.
So much for working smarter, not harder…