Police have charged a New Jersey mother who allegedly lied and said her son was suffering with cancer in order to deceive friends and loved ones out of thousands of dollars.
Investigators say Susan Stillwagon, 35, stole as much as $3,500 through cupcake and bracelet fundraisers by claiming that her 9-year-old son had a type of lymphoma and needed medical care.
"You tell people your son has cancer and they want to help," said Pennsauken Police Lieutenant Michael Probasco.
Police got a tip earlier this week that Stillwagon’s story about her son wasn’t adding up. Investigators subpoenaed medical records and discovered Stillwagon had been lying.
Probasco says Stillwagon even convinced her son he was sick to carry out the scheme.
The suspect’s mother, who did not tell NBC10.com her name, says that her daughter is being treated at a local hospital.
“I will just tell you my daughter is sick and something snapped in her head. That’s why she is where she is so that we can find out what’s wrong with her,” said Stillwagon’s mother. “I am very concerned for my daughter, very concerned. We will get through this but people have to leave us alone or we will never get through it.”
New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Families checked on Stillwagon's four children Tuesday.
“They came to make sure the house is livable, food in fridge and that the kids aren't being mistreated and they didn’t find any of that,” said Lieutenant Michael Probasco.
Tamara Disalvo, a neighbor, says her thoughts are with the little boy.
“Just as a friend and neighbor you do feel deceived by this. He must be pretty confused because of he was deceived this way by his mother, that’s got to feel awful,” said Disalvo.
Stillwagon was charged with theft by deception and using her own son to commit a crime.