Darlene Asher planned one fundraiser for Smith.
“It was easy to want to raise money for him,” she said. “We wanted him to have the best care he could get.”
Asher says 200 people came to the dart tournament she planned. The bar donated beer. T-shirts and bracelets were sold. In all, she says they gave more than $8,000 to Smith.
“He started crying and he said, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me,'” she said.
But months later, Asher started to have doubts.
“He lived almost a year past when he was supposed to live,” she said. “And he never lost weight and he didn’t look unhealthy.”
The Faribault Police Department was tipped off to Jeremiah Jon Smith’s alleged scheme in May 2016, KTTC reports.
An investigation revealed that the 37-year-old had told people that he was battling stage-four cancer and was given 18 to 25 months to live. He later claimed he had six months to live, but it was all a lie.
According to a criminal complaint, Smith quit his job shortly after revealing his “diagnosis.”
A GoFundMe page was also sent up to help him. Authorities said it raised more than $6,800.
In February 2016, his community held two events raising more than $15,000.
Investigators reportedly said Smith spent all the money from the fundraisers. Some of the money went towards paying off $4,000 in outstanding bills and the rest was spent on alcohol, marijuana, dart tournaments and the mobile video game Clash of Clans.
WCCO quotes Rice County attorney Jon Fossum as saying: “It is surprising. I guess you don’t expect to see people pretend to have a disease to try and make money off of it,” Fossum said.
After raising over $23,000 Jeremiah Jon Smith blew the funds on alcohol, weed and video games. He was never sick, police confirmed from his doctor
Detectives said Smith’s wife became suspicious her husband was lying when she couldn’t find his medical records or bills for treatment, coupled with the fact that every time he had a doctor’s appointment Smith refused to let his wife come along.
Approached by investigators Smith, told them that he would turn over his medical records which he never did. When investigators met with him a second time he persisted with his story, telling detectives that the cancer had spread from his colon to his kidneys and bladder.
Police obtained a search warrant for his medical records, which revealed he was not sick. His doctor told investigators he never diagnosed Smith with cancer.
He is facing a felony charge of theft by swindle. He’s scheduled to appear in court next month and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
GoFundMe said in a statement that a refund will be issued to all donors upon request.