The sorority girl who faked cancer and scammed friends out of $10,000 isn’t going to jail
Kelly Schmahl pleaded guilty to theft by deception
The sorority girl who faked cancer and swindled her friends out of thousands of dollars will not face jail, babe can reveal.
Kelly Schmahl found herself in court last year after she shaved her head and told classmates she had stage-three stomach cancer when she was in fact physically healthy. Her family and sorority sisters organized charity events in her name and raised more than $7,500 in medical donations.
Schmahl, formerly a Northern Kentucky University student, was sentenced to five years of diversion – it's similar to probation. She will not face jail time or community service. According to a Kentucky prosecutor who spoke to babe, she will be unsupervised as long as she resides in an in-patient mental health treatment facility.
During the months in which she hoaxed her friends and family, Schmahl, then a freshman, moved around in a wheelchair and had friends drive her to bogus chemotherapy appointments. She would go into clinics and wait in stairwells for several hours before returning, saying she had received cancer treatment.
This marks the end of a yearlong saga that began in Edgewood, Kentucky, when Schmahl first told friends and family that she had a gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Over a six-month period, she staged an elaborate deception to convince her loved ones that she was desperately ill.
To maintain the hoax, she bought a reclining hospital bed with railings, oxygen tubes, bandages and a chemotherapy body port. She would take pictures with the tubes up her nose and the chemo port attached and send them to friends to show them how she was coping with her treatment.
Prosecution lawyer Rob Sanders explained how she would ask friends to drive her to chemo appointments at a nearby hospital.
"She always had an excuse about why they needed to wait outside," he said. "Ms Schmahl would go into the hospital and hide out in a stairwell or just walk around for several hours. Then she would walk back outside to the person waiting for her and hop in the car and go home."
To maintain the fraud, Schmahl created a cellphone forwarding service so she could receive texts from inquisitive friends and family and respond while pretending to be healthcare staff.
With a friend, she contacted a local portrait photographer to arrange a shoot that would show how well she was handling cancer. The pictures Kevin Kunkemoeller took of her, smiling joyfully with a shaved head, invited the sympathy and admiration of those who knew her.
"Nobody had any idea that it was all a ruse," Kunkemoeller said. "I feel sorry for the girl to be honest. I have no idea, I haven't spoken to her since I took those photographs. She was a very messed-up kid but my interaction with her was very pleasant."
Schmahl's fictional battle with cancer earned the praise of classmates and sorority sisters at her college. Many of the original posts sympathizing with her health problems are still online, providing a glimpse into just how much her deception worked.
— ri (@rileyecrawford) October 5, 2016
Kelly Schmahl is most possibly the nicest person I've ever met, keeping you in my prayers and sending lots of love ?? @kellyschmahl
— nina (@Simkonis1) October 6, 2016
praying for you so much Kelly. The Sammons family loves you!
— Ethan (@ethantate1112) February 14, 2017
you're absolutely amazing and so strong. Keep fighting, we're all here cheering for you beautiful! Stay positive ??
— OX (@oksiclean) October 17, 2016
— VξℜONiƘα (@vecraw) February 20, 2017
— Joey Yerace (@PittsburghPete_) February 20, 2017
This went on from October 2016 to April 2017, when her scam imploded. With her parents and a family friend in the same room, the discrepancies in Schmahl's story emerged as they compared the conflicting lies she had told them. She broke down then told the truth – there was no cancer diagnosis and there never had been.
Following the court case's verdict in October 2017, it is now clear that Schmahl wasn't motivated by financial gain. Prosecutors found the vast majority of her cancer donations, amounting to thousands of dollars, untouched in a bank account.
"She wasn't doing it for the money, she was doing it for the attention," Rob Sanders said. "This young lady sadly has serious mental health issues. While pretending to have cancer when you don't is really reprehensible, this case is a lot sadder than it is offensive."
"It's one of the most bizarre cases I've ever dealt with," he added.
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