MARION, Ind. - A Marion woman is behind bars accused of pretending to have breast cancer and duping people into giving her money.
Police said 39-year-old Tina Stanley is charged with 8 counts of Theft which are Level 6 Felonies.
Kendra Johnson is one of the people who reported Stanley to police.
She said Stanley announced her diagnoses in December. She remembers hearing about it and feeling bad for her. Johnson's mother even joined Stanley's team for a cancer walk.
“I just was hoping she would beat it," she said.
Police said Stanley sold cancer t-shirts for $10 and wrist bracelets for $3 to raise money for Cancer Services of Grant County. However, Cancer Services of Grant County reports they never received a dime.
By April, Johnson said, someone noticed Facebook pictures of Stanley's --- treatments looked exactly like pictures they had seen before online. The only difference was, the face in the picture was cropped.
Johnson found more pictures that appeared stolen from the internet and confronted Stanley.
"Her reply was, 'Oh my God. People keep telling me about this woman who was stealing my pictures and cropping them.' I said, 'No, these pictures are from the internet. These are not your pictures.'”
So why would someone go to such great lengths to lie about having cancer?
Mental Health Counselor Camishe Nunley explains how manipulation like this is often used to gain attention and money.
"In this case, it really sounds like this woman was a pathological liar," said Nunley. "The reason she tells the lies is, because she knows that a lot of people will believe it and it will fall on a lot of heart-strings and it will pull at those. And people want to believe in helping somebody. They want to see a success story. They want to see someone overcome. And it makes it hard for companies like mine who are actually raising money for a legitimate cause."
Nunley's organization, Healing Your Hidden Hurts, raises money to fund treatment for those unable to afford it in her church community. She's worried these kinds of stories will hurt legitimate organizations or cancer patients who request support during tough times.
The deception will never be easy for Johnson to understand. She lost her father to lung cancer and remembers how hard that battle was for the entire family.
“It’s a horrible feeling. Like I wanted my father so bad to beat it and overcome it. And to see her walking around with a smile on her face pretending to have something she doesn’t, it angered me. It really, really angered me.”
Nalie Agustin has cancer. One of her pictures was used by Stanley. She wrote to us about the arrest.
It takes ALOT of courage to publicly share my cancer journey. I do it to spread awareness and especially provide hope for others cancer patients.
Having your pictures, profile, and overall identity stolen feels violating.
This is my real life, my real story, my real struggles. Never have I asked for money or for pity. My blog www.nalie.ca, YouTube series The Nalie Show and social media @nalieagustin spreads nothing but INSPIRATION! To think someone is trying to benefit from the most difficult moment in my life that I strive every day to turn into something positive disgusts me.
I am so happy to know this person was arrested and I hope every other Facebook fraud also suffers the consequences. These profiles need to be taken DOWN!
If you purchased a “Team Tina” t-shirt, a “Tina Strong” wrist bracelet or gave a donation to Tina Stanley you are asked to contact Detective Lieutenant Justin Faw at (765) 668-4417.