ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman in Arapahoe County is accused of convincing her 6-year-old son he had cancer so she could organize fundraisers and pocket the money.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department says Sandy Nyugen fabricated the story about her son having cancer to collect more than $25,000 in donations.
Investigators believe the woman even took her family to Disneyland with some of the donated funds.
“I’m very angry, I feel sad for the child but I’m very angry,” said a parent who wished to not be identified.
Investigators say the boy’s elementary school rallied around him to raise money.
“It was a huge deal, a huge deal so it’s very disappointing,” said the parent, whose family donated money and even participated in a community race fundraiser.
Tim Sullivan lives a few doors down from the family and said that at one time he was friends with a relative who used to live there.
“I was over there quite a bit. Sandy cut my hair a couple times, cause that’s what she did for a living,” said Sullivan.
That relative moved away but told Sullivan by phone that he knew nothing of the cancer claim and is shocked by the arrest.
Investigators say Nguyen had everyone convinced but when she was arrested she confessed her son does not actually have cancer.
“Just a happy go-lucky kid. He never really appeared sick whenever I saw him,” said the parent.
Nguyen is facing charges of theft and criminal impersonation.