STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A 34-year-old woman accused of faking cancer turned herself into authorities in Routt County on Friday.
Investigators say Elizabeth Bateman collected thousands of dollars to help fight an illness she never had.
Michelle Bent says at one time Bateman was her close friend and she even let her move in to her home. Police say Bateman created a video to spread the word about her battle with leukemia, but now they believe she made everything up to collect money from her friends.
Bateman is now facing felony theft charges in Steamboat Springs. Police say she lied about her illness and used it to take advantage of friends and collect money for a fake nonprofit.
“There are no words. It’s like crazy. It’s like a Lifetime movie that you don’t want to watch or be a part of,” Bent said.
According to court documents, Bent cared for Bateman, even administering what she thought were morphine injections. They turned out to be saline.
“Pushing her around town in a wheelchair on oxygen, taking her and picking her up from like different cancer appointments that she was supposedly at, but wasn’t,” Bent said.
Bent says she became suspicious when Bateman refused medical treatment and avoided going to the hospital.
“(She would) freak out in restaurants. She would like physically hit me, like yelled at me, screamed at me, tried to jump out of my car one time and we thought it was all because of a brain tumor,” Bent said.
Bateman even told Bent she’d created a nonprofit to help other cancer patients. Friends held a fundraiser and collected more than $7,000. Police believe the money went to pay for elaborate vacations and excursions.
“(I) found out that none of the money at all was spent on anything but her,” Bent said.
Bent contacted police and the investigation revealed the fraud.
“There’ are always crazy people in the world, but when it’s in your living room it’s really hard to wrap your head around,” Bent said.
Police say Bateman’s father made arrangements to post her bond. They say she pulled a similar scam in Texas, the last state she lived in.