Emotional Scars Could Last: Cancer Scam Hits Steuben County Hard

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 30, 2012 Updated Mar 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM EDT

ANGOLA, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Cancer is a disease that can leave long lasting scars.

27-year old April Landis may leave lasting emotional scars in Angola, where she is accused of faking a case of brain cancer to cash in on charitable donations.

She turned herself into authorities in Steuben County Friday, after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Prosecutors charged her with four felony counts of theft, after she allegedly told friends on Face book she had cancer, then accepted thousands of dollars in donations at a fundraising event.

Some folks in Steuben County are angry about the situation, but others seem to be wrestling more with how somebody could concoct such a scheme, without having her conscience get the best of her.

April Landis posted $10,000 bail Friday afternoon to get out of the Steuben County jail.

It's unclear whether she used some of the donated money to regain her freedom.

Not only did individuals contribute to the phony fundraising effort, but businesses also chipped in.

"Fit 4 Life", a fitness business in downtown Angola, donated a gift certificate for one month’s worth of free workouts.

The Steuben County Cancer Association hopes the businesses can learn to trust again.

Candy Oliver/Steuben Co. Cancer Assn.: " They're heartbroken, and they're going to be skeptical next time. Next time I go and ask for a donation for one of our patients, they're going to be real skeptical."

Carrie Davis/Fit 4 Life: " You'll think twice about it, you know, next time you give towards something. I think it'll cause people to look into stuff more, you know, before they give, to make sure."

The Angola newspaper, the Herald-Republican, has changed a long-standing policy because of this case.

The editor says the paper will no longer automatically publish particulars of a fund-raising benefit, unless the legitimacy of the cause can be independently verified, such as double-checking with a physician.

Melanoma cancer patient Nancy Schort gave $1,000 of her own money to Landis.

She says she feels like Landis made fun of all cancer victims through this scam.

She says if her money can be retrieved in the investigation, she wants it diverted to the Steuben County Cancer Association, which she claims has been there for her family when help was needed most.

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