As recently as Thursday night, 27-year-old April Landis was thanking people on Facebook for attending her cancer fundraiser Saturday. However, by that time, Candy Oliver, with the Steuben County Cancer Association was already having serious doubts about her story. Landis has been telling friends and family for a month that she has a rare brain cancer. Both she and her husband have numerous pictures posted online with shaved heads.
Among the many red flags was the fact the Doctor April named wasn't a cancer doctor. After collecting enough evidence, Candy called and confronted April.
"I told her this is a scam and I know it. She started stuttering and I told her I've already spoken to police and that she should turn herself in because it's over, then I hung up", said Oliver.
The damage was already done, Saturday's fundraiser was a huge success, over a dozen people even shaved their heads to support the Mother of four in her battle against cancer. After the phone call with Candy, April did call police and turned in several thousand dollars from the fundraiser. Police say she offered no explanation and showed little emotion, now Angola and Indiana State Police fear not all the money is accounted for.
"we're trying to get a tally of how much is still out there, we'll return the checks that we can account for", said Detective Harry Nix with Indiana State Police.
April and her husband did not return our phone calls and no one was home when we stopped at their mobile home to question them about the cancer fundraiser.
April's Father was on Facebook Friday saying he was as surprised as anyone to hear the news. However, he was maybe not as surprised as Nancy Schort. She was recently diagnosed with a very serious form of late stage cancer and spoke directly to April at the benefit, giving her $1,000 in cash. She was devastated after learning the news.
"I'm angry, I didn't even think to see if she had a port. I don't know how someone can lie about something that's so personal to me and my family", said Schort.
It's important to note, the Steuben County Cancer Association had no affiliation with Saturday's benefit, but played a key role in stopping the scam in its tracks. We found postings from April going back to last month talking about her battle with Cancer. Today, those same pages are filled, both with supporters and people livid that someone could take advantage of people in that way.
Police say they will return the checks, but it's up to the court to decide what happens to the cash. They'll recommend the money is given to what it was intended for: fighting cancer. As for April Landis, she is expected to face criminal charges soon from the Steuben County Prosecutor's Office.
If you gave any money for the benefit of Landis, you're asked to call the Angola Police Department at 260.665.2121
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