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Jeremiah Jon Smith Pleads Guilty to Theft by Swindle for Cancer Fundraisers
Jeremiah Jon Smith, 38, of Faribault, today pled guilty to theft by swindle for having fundraisers claiming he was dying of cancer when he was not in fact ill. Smith raised thousands of dollars by having fundraisers in Northfield and other locations and by having a Go Fund Me page.
Smith admitted that between October 23, 2015 and May 24, 2016 he maintained he had cancer. Smith admitted he was not in fact suffering from cancer. Smith admitted that fundraisers were held and a “Go Fund Me” page was created, in response to his false representations of being ill. Smith admitted that he misrepresented being ill in order to financially benefit from donors. Smith admitted he received over $5,000, donated through the benefits and on the “Go Fund Me” page.
Smith raised over $6,000 on the Go Fund Me page, and approximately $9,000 from a fundraiser held in Northfield. Instead of spending the money medical treatments, the majority of the funds were spent on video games, drinking, dart tournaments and marijuana. The fraud was uncovered when Smith’s wife found no evidence of medical bills.
“Smith took advantage of people’s willingness to help and empathy for his claimed illness,” Rice County Attorney John Fossum said. “Smith saw an opportunity to make some easy money and people were not suspicious at first,” Fossum added.
Smith is expected to be placed on probation for 10 years, be required to do 480 hours of community service, and return for sentencing on Janaury 8, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. People who contributed to Smith’s fundraisers are encouraged to contact the Rice County Attorney’s Office, or the Rice County Community Corrections Office to make claims for restitution. The Rice County Attorney’s Office Victims Services Coordinator is Shawn Becker, he can be contacted at 507-332-5934 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some contributions were small and there were many donors who have not yet been identified.
John Fossum, Rice County Attorney (507)-332-6103
Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator (507) 332-6121