Woman convicted of faking cancer diagnosis in a scheme to get the state to pay for the 2010 abortion of her 22-week-old unborn baby. Chalice Renee Zeitner was convicted on 11 counts, including fraudulent schemes, identity theft, theft, attempted theft, and forgery.
Zeitner, 30, was arrested in Georgia in May 2015 where authorities said she was using the alias Al Serkez. She was enrolled in an Arizona health care program which would pay for abortion in very limited conditions, such as when the mother’s life is endangered. She did not mention cancer when she applied, prosecutors said.
“Investigators say the scheme was discovered a year after the April 2010 abortion when a doctor who performed a C-section during Zeitner’s subsequent pregnancy found no signs of cancer,” according to the Associated Press. “Another doctor who was listed on medical records as having treated Zeitner for cancer later said he never treated her.”
The Arizona woman convicted of faking cancer tried her scam twice, the New York Daily News reports. Zeitner first told her doctor in 2010 “that her fetus had been exposed to radiation. After a specialist found her fetus was healthy, they say Zeitner didn’t give up the alleged scheme and forged a letter from another doctor that stated her pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life.”
Undeterred, she forged a letter from another doctor which read that the abortion was necessary to save her life, FOX News noted.
Zeitner allegedly claimed before her abortion that she had stage IV cancer in her abdomen and lower spine and told her obstetrician that she was scheduled to resume cancer treatment at a hospital in Boston. Her abortion occurred 22 weeks into her pregnancy.
The state estimates that more than $6,000 was spent on health care related to her abortion. She is also accused of using a fake identity on social media to convince her boyfriend to set up a fundraising website for her cancer treatments.
The Arizona Capitol Times said Zeitner faces a trial May 25 in a separate case in which she is accused of defrauding a charity for military veterans and the leader of a second charity in 2012.
The other many charges she was convicted of included defrauding charities for military vets and “using a fake identity on social media to convince her boyfriend to set up a fundraising website for her cancer treatments,” USA Today reported.
The woman convicted of faking cancer allegedly persuaded one charity to buy $7,700 worth of tickets for a gala with the promise of returning the money and providing a portion of the event’s proceeds. But investigators say Zeitner canceled the event and instead spent the money on personal expenses.