Police say Mary Bennett used her scheme to rake in gifts, donations and trips valued at about $25,000

By Char Adams
January 26, 2016 04:55 PM
Forsyth County Sheriffs Office

A Georgia woman is accused of faking terminal cancer and allegedly collected cash donations, a trip to New Orleans, a fishing charter and a hot air balloon ride – more than $25,000 worth of goodwill, PEOPLE confirms.

Mary Bennett, of Cumming, was charged with felony first-degree forgery and misdemeanor theft after faking the illness and receiving gifts, donations and trips, according to arrest warrants obtained by PEOPLE.

“Basically, she went around saying that she had terminal cancer and there were fundraisers put up for her and a lot of people donated to her,” Robin Regan, a public information officer with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office, tells PEOPLE.

“When we began investigating, obtaining search warrants and speaking with a lot of doctors and hospitals, they had no knowledge of her and they had not treated her as a patient. She ultimately ended up confessing that she had made it all up.”

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Authorities say they believe Bennett, 29, began claiming to have Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2010, the Associated Press reports.

Police say she received about $25,000 worth of gifts, donations and trips.

She also received signed letters from members of the Atlanta Braves, went skydiving, went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, rode in a hot air balloon and took a free trip to New Orleans, the AP reports.

It is unclear whether she has an attorney or has entered a plea.