CRIME

Kody Grode Lied About Cancer, Sentenced To 3 Months Jail

Aug 05, 2013 | Updated Aug 05, 2013

Kody Grode raised over $2,000 and gained the support of her best friends in her fight against cancer -- but she never had cancer.

Grode, 24, of Yuma, Ariz., told her best friend of nine years and colleagues at a local daycare that she had stage-three ovarian cancer in 2012, according to KYMA.

Grode grifted between $2,000 and $3,000 from those who wanted to help, while telling friends that she underwent chemotherapy and had surgery to remove a tumor.

The mother of Grode's then-best friend, Clara Tolomei, read a statement from her daughter regarding Grode's actions.

"Everything she did was premeditated," Tolomei said while reading the letter. "Cancer is not a joke -- it is very real. Kody made a mockery out of cancer and out of the people who fight for their lives."

The Yuma Sun reported that it was Tolomei who brought the case to authorities after she and her daughter became suspicious of Grode's claims. Prior to alerting police, Tolomei helped her daughter raise money for Grode, all while her own father was dying of cancer.

During Grode's sentencing, Superior Court Judge Maria Elena Cruz imparted advice on the young woman before her sentencing:

“I hope that during the time that you are in custody, you will take that opportunity to reflect on how you got there,” Cruz said. “Because Mrs. Grode, if you don't get to the bottom of how you could do something like this, in such a calculated, callous, and cold manner, more problems are going to arise down the road in your life.”

Grode was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 36 months of supervised probation, and ordered to pay back those she scammed. She must also work community service for cancer patients once she's released.

“It was a good verdict," Tolomei said. "I wanted Kody to have jail time, and she got it."

Taking advantage of people with cancer claims happens far too often.

In 2012, Kristopher Cook allegedly made more than $7,500 in a fake fundraiser by claiming to have brain cancer. He was hospitalized less than a day after starting his jail term after inmates beat him.

Again in 2012, Jessica Vega allegedly faked having leukemia in order to have a "dream wedding" where people donated money and gifts to Vega for the celebration.

Earlier this year, Sara Ylen was accused of faking cancer after raising over $10,000 in community donations.

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