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Utah woman sentenced for faking child's cancer to raise cash

Published November 1, 2013 11:05 am

Courts • Vernal woman allegedly raised $3,000 from well-wishers, used it to pay bills.
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A Vernal businesswoman has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for pretending her 4-year-old daughter was suffering from cancer in order to collect cash donations.

Abreail Winkler, 30, was charged in August in 8th District Court with one count of third-degree felony communications fraud, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Winkler on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a lesser class A misdemeanor count of communications fraud and asked to be sentenced immediately.

Judge Edwin Peterson placed the woman on probation for two years. In addition to the jail time, Winkler must complete counseling and pay a $1,000 fine. The issue of restitution has been left open.

Winkler collected $3,183 from fundraisers and private donations, which well-wishers expected would help cover the young girl's medical expenses, according to court documents.

Instead, Winkler, who owns the business Tenacious Clothing, told police she used the money to pay her own bills.

Police have said Winkler told them she made up the cancer diagnosis to get the attention of a man, but "things got out of hand," according to court documents.

The child's father told police he didn't know his daughter had been diagnosed with cancer or was receiving treatment for it.

Police said their investigation revealed the child did not have cancer.