CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – An Aurora mother accused of lying to her son, telling her boy he had cancer, has been formally charged.
Sandy Nguyen, 28, is accused of holding fundraisers based on the lie. The charges of theft, charitable fraud and child abuse against her were filed Wednesday.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department says Nguyen convinced her son, family and the community around them that her 6-year-old son had cancer since September of 2012.
The arrest affidavit says a doctor, who got her hair cut by the suspect, said the treatment the mother was describing for her son’s cancer was not accurate. The doctor later found out from Children’s Hospital that the child was being treated for asthma, not cancer. Children’s Hospital then filed a neglect report.
Nguyen is out of custody on bond. She walked into the courtroom with a friend and when she walked out she attempted to hide her face behind that friend and didn’t make a comment.
The community raised money for her son through school fundraisers and other methods, raising over $25,000, which was placed into an account for the family to use. The affidavit says the principal at the boy’s school told police during fundraising events they had 100 percent participation from over 600 students. Some of the children even gave up allowance and asked grandparents for money to help.
Deputies say Nguyen even took a trip to Disneyland during the scheme.
The arrest affidavit says the Nguyen’s son told investigators “he believes he has cancer and is going to die” and “he gets chemotherapy at night when he’s sleeping.” The boy had patches of hair and his eyebrows missing. He told investigators “his mom shaves his head every morning before school” and “he never gets sick from the chemo.”
Prosecutors say they are still trying to determine the scope of how many people were victimized by Nguyen’s scheme.
“If individuals who feel like they may have been victimized associated with this case have not contacted law enforcement, please do so,” prosecutor Jacob Edson said.
Sources told CBS4 the child abuse charge is being sought because the 6-year old child was allegedly convinced that he had cancer as part of the alleged scheme.
Nguyen will be back in court in April.