Fake Cancer Patient Goes to Court

By Max Resnik

May 14, 2012 Updated May 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM EDT

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – An Angola woman who faked having cancer and raised thousands of dollars to support her cause appeared in a Steuben County courtroom for her initial hearing.

April Landis, 27, of Angola, is facing four counts of felony theft for raising thousands of dollars from Angola community members at a fundraiser for what she called a rare form of brain cancer. Later, she admitted to faking the illness and instead said she suffers from factitious disorder, which is defined by a person who believes he or she suffers from an illness that they do not have.

Landis, accompanied by family members, had a brief court appearance. She was appointed an attorney and had her pretrial conference and jury trial scheduled.

Among those in the courtroom was Nancy Schort, a terminally ill cancer patient who donated $1,200 to Landis in March. She said Landis may not ever truly understand the damage she has caused to not only cancer patients in need of monetary help, but to the entire Angola community.

“The only way she could understand is to have cancer and to deal with it everyday. And apparently that's not going to happen. And I wouldn't wish that on anybody, not even April.”

Schort says she will attend Landis’ trial to see it through to the end. She called Landis’ actions disheartening for all cancer patients.

"The cancer center’s been wonderful, and I know that they were good to her. The community was good to her and they get slapped in the face, just like I did. And I was here for all the cancer patients out there. Not just for me. It was for all the cancer patients that go through this everyday.”

Landis’ pretrial conference is set for August 20. Her jury trial is set to begin November 8.

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