Woman Who Faked Cancer Deserved a Harsher Punishment (VIDEO)

martha ann nicholasIt sounds like a Lifetime movie, but it's completely true. A 42-year-old woman from Virginia named Martha Ann Nicholas claimed to have had cancer. She said she beat the disease four times and became somewhat of a staple at cancer rallies. She volunteered for the American Cancer Society, was an active fundraiser and participant in Relay for Life events, and raised $12,000 ... which the A.C.S. says they received. But Martha also raised $1,700 that she took for herself -- and has since been returned in restitution.

That's because it was revealed this past December that Nicholas never had cancer. In court, she pleaded guilty on two misdemeanor charges of obtaining money by false pretenses. Her sentence: A $100 fine and five years probation.

Sound like a punishment befitting of the crime?

Sure, it's not pennies, but as far as a court fine goes, $100 is nada! There are parking tickets that probably cost more than that. Sounds like the judge just wanted to give Nicholas a slap on the wrist.

While I'm sure there are people out there who donated to her, feel betrayed, and would like to see her have to cough up a lot more dough for her crime, it bears noting that there was more to Martha's "scam" than meets the eye. The mother of two reportedly suffered from a psychological condition which caused her to think that she had a cancer-like disease.

Her defense attorney, Sam Simpson, told a local news affiliate, "We weren't dealing with a physical illness, we were dealing with psychiatric illness, and that was really manifesting itself through her actions."

The fact that she barely pocketed any of the funds she raised does make me personally wonder if she was really suffering from psychiatric illness. And if so, it would make me a teeny bit sympathetic. Cancer sucks, but mental illness is no picnic either.

However, her offense was deserving of a harsher punishment. Perhaps she should have had to pay a heftier fine or serve a longer probation? What about being required to seek psychiatric care? In the end, a sentence with just a little bit more heft to it would have sent a stronger message -- that pretending to have cancer and taking funds under false pretenses (even if you have the best intentions or weren't mentally well) is wrong.

Here's the local news story about Martha ...


Do you think Nicholas deserved a heftier sentence or should she have been given the break for being psychologically unwell?

cancer, general health


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bills... billsfan1104

I was thinking she stole more. What she did was wrong, but if she is truly mentally ill, then she needs help and not to be shunned.

Kritika Kritika

This is what happens when women have too much time on their hands.

luvmy... luvmyboy1979

I don't know, I think there have been far worse offenses with far less punishment.

Mike Vick, one of those.  Lindsay Lohen, another, the list goes on and on....

nonmember avatar Savanna

My mom is a breast cancer survivor I spent many nights and days curled up at the end of her bed like a cat praying that she would make it through, and to read this makes me so pissed, how could she fake something that claims so many young lives, she deserved so much more then a slap on the wrist, why is it when people get into trouble they bank on a scape-goat of a reason as some mental illness, seriously why not just fess up to what you did and just say yes sir i'm guilty, I told a white lie that just kept steam rolling into a major lie. She should be shunned!

Jennifer Buescher Potts

As I pray each night for one more day on this earth as a Breast Cancer survivor this woman pisses me off. How dare she think ( mental illness or not) that she knows anything about the physical and mental fights those of us who truly have cancer battle daily. This woman makes me sick to my stomach. I am sick of mental illness being used as a defense.

nonmember avatar Rachael

Wow...unbelievable. i am a cancer survivor and wish that i never had to tell my friends and family i had non-hodgkins lymphoma. Not only did she take people for granted but what about her family. Did no one go with her to treatment? My family was always by my side.

nonmember avatar jean long

as a 2 time cancer survivor, i cannot believe that no one caught on. the process is grueling and usually doesn't go without family and friends support.
i think this crime is DISPICABLE!

Cindy Robertson

How dare her! I've had breast cancer twice and have had a few scares since. I don't know what her punishment should have been but how about sitting in a room with people getting their chemo for a day and see how she feels then. See how she thinks then after watching people fighting for their lives. I just want to slap her back to reality whether shes playing the "nut" card or not

Kathy Wilson

This desperate transference of thinking you are physically ill, is related to hysteria,and ocd.

Candy Singletary Martin

I am a cancer survivor and I would have never wished it on anyone.Chemo sucks, radiation burns, surgeries hurt, and the after effects are worse, and for some idiot to do this is really sicking. They should give her all the treatments and heart aches that people deal with having cancer as a punishment. Words can not express how this makes me feel.

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