SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee woman has been indicted for theft by a grand jury after she raised $8,000 to treat cancer she didn’t have.
Investigators say Ashley Lively lied about having cancer when creating a GoFundMe account. The truth came to light when someone contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office wondering how a supposedly-sick Lively had gone on vacation to Florida.
According to the indictment, Lively received control of the “Ashley’s Fight Against Cancer” GoFundMe account “without effective consent” and intended to take the money.
In a January Facebook post, Lively wrote, “I am so blessed to live in such an amazing, caring community!! And I just wanna say thank you so much to everyone that has went out of their way to help.”
Lively told her family that the cancer was fake through a text, according to her aunt Margaret Shubert. Lively said she had the names of everyone who donated and planned to pay them back. Shubert said her family is “just as shocked and tore up as everyone else.”
Staff at Hair Therapy Spa in Athens still can’t believe it. In January, they said they gave a whole day of free spa treatments to Lively, her mom, and grandmother.
“Shocked. There’s no other words for it. How do you go before all these people who donate their time, money, pray for you non-stop, knowing all along you’re lying to them?” said Misty Martin, who works at the spa and donated her time that day.
Those who selflessly gave to the cause are still in disbelief.
“We still want to think God performed a miracle. God healed her body of cancer. That’s what we want to believe,” Martin said.
“It’s just something you go to be careful about,” said Sweetwater resident, Israel Cole.