Woman accused of faking cancer to collect donations under investigation in Berkeley County

The Investigators

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD)– Heather and BJ Faas own Titus Strength and Fitness in Summerville. When expanding their gym this fall they looked to Facebook Marketplace to find good deals on equipment.

Faas found a listing posted by 32-year-old Jessica Smith.

“She gave me her phone number, so we were contacting through text and messenger and she also sent me a picture of her license so I thought okay, this has to be pretty legit,” said BJ Faas.

In September, they sent Cornell Smith a $2,400 payment through Facebook Messenger and Paypal.

The Faas’ never received the equipment or confirmation of shipping.

“BJ came to me and was like hey look, I think we have been scammed,” said Heather Faas. “She hasn’t really messaged me back. What should we do,” she added.

The Faas learned they were not alone. A podcast, The Ever Evolving Truth, revealed several other people who claimed they were scammed by the same woman.

“We don’t get back loans. This is our hard-earned money that we have put forth to fund our own gym and this is our livelihood,” said Heather.

Investigators with the Uwchlan Township Police Department in Pennsylvania said Smith claimed to be suffering from cancer to collect donations from a GoFundMe page.

According to NBC affiliate WCAU, Smith’s scheme included pretending to have cancer, impersonating a doctor and nurse and lying about her own father dying.

Pennsylvania authorities charged Smith with Theft by Deception and Receiving Stolen Property.

On November 4, 2019, Smith turned herself into the Uwchlan Township Police Department. Her bond was set at $10,000.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said they are close to issuing warrants for Smith’s arrest in connection to the Faas’ claim.

BCSO Captain Michael Crumley said they will do their best to recoup the Faas’ losses.

The department will work with authorities in Pennsylvania to extradite Smith once the warrants are issued.

Smith is facing additional charges in Delaware. According to WCAU, Wilmington Police charged Smith with Impersonating an Officer and Identity Theft.

The Count on 2 Investigators made several attempts to contact Smith.

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