A mother in Texas has been arrested for scamming people out of money by pretending her daughter had cancer.
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Authorities say Juanita Garcia, 46, purposely shaved her 7-year-old daughter’s head, which resulted in actually convincing the poor little girl she had the deadly disease.
According to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, Garcia planned and hosted several fundraisers to raise money for her daughter’s ‘cancer treatment’, scamming money from generous strangers, friends and even some of her family members.
Authorities said that in one photo Garcia posted to social media in October, her daughter is seen with a shaved head and wearing a pink t-shirt reading, “I am NOT a boy I’m a GIRL battling cancer.”
Another photo of her daughter posted in June reads, “My princess fighting her cancer I know she will prayers for my baby.”
Garcia told the public that her daughter had only months to live, according to investigators.
Child Protective Services tipped sheriff’s deputies off to the alleged scheme on Oct. 22 and accused her of organizing fake cancer fundraisers for her own financial gain.
Authorities said that no illness was found when Garcia’s daughter was medically evaluated during the course of the investigation. If fact, she was in perfect health.
“During questioning, Garcia admitted to Investigators that her daughter had never been diagnosed with cancer, and that she had obtained monetary donations from various persons,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
She was arraigned and held on a $10,000 cash bond. Online records show she has since been released.
CBS 4 reported that authorities have removed the little girl from her mother’s home and is in the care of a family member.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told us:
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is urging the community to verify and confirm information from fundraisers that they choose to participate in. In many cases, asking questions and utilizing good common-sense approaches can prevent someone from being the target of a fraudulent scheme. Legitimate organizations, groups, or persons who are fundraising will have ways to verify and confirm information about their events.
Attempts to reach Garcia for comment were not successful.