Updated:
Original:

19-year-old charged with faking cancer to pocket donations

Author:

Investigators say a Wisconsin woman has been charged with theft after tricking people into thinking she had cancer and using donations to buy cigarettes and pizza, WSAW reports.

Celina R. Winchell, 19, of Merrill in north-central Wisconsin, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of theft and obstruction, the station reports.

A woman who had befriended Winchell ultimately helped tip police when she noticed that Winchell did not show any signs of illness and was freely spending money, WSAW reports.

Court records indicate that Winchell told police she had never claimed to have cancer and said it was only “a possibility."

But Winchell left evidence on Facebook that suggests otherwise, including this Jan. 14 post:

And this post that says, "LIKE if you wish cancer didn't exist. I'm fighting it now:"

Post by Celina Winchell.

Among those who say they were duped were Kelly Guillaume, who read about Winchell on social media and knit the 19-year-old a hat, which she hand-delivered.

"She did say to me that she was in stage 4 cancer, she didn't know how long she had to live." Guillaume told WSAW.

WSAW also interviewed Danielle Friedrich, who worked at a pizza restaurant and arranged for collection jars there for Winchell. She even let Winchell stay at her home. But Friedrich said Winchell raided the jars and was not spending the money on medical expenses. About $150 was collected in the jars.

Friedrich shared her suspicions with managers, who shared them with police.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Gramer told WSAU that Winchell faces a more severe punishment because of past convictions. Winchell was convicted in December on charges of theft and possession of an illegally obtained prescription, the Wausau Daily Herald.

A June trial date has been set, and a pretrial conference in the case is set for April 7.

Next Up

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer booster shots immediately available for select Minnesotans

118 fully vaccinated Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.

Gisela Medina Sherburne County Jail - 2021.09.23 - crop 2

19-year-old charged alongside Anton Lazzaro pleads not guilty

She's accused of helping the GOP operative traffic underage girls.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook misses Vikings practice on Friday

Cook suffered an ankle injury during the Cardinals game.

GetMedia (1)

Gallery: Historic church renovated into home is yours for $248,000

The church-turned-home offers an open floor plan in the heart of Howard Lake.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen  - YouTube screengrab

MN GOP Rep. spreads voted fraud disinformation, draws rebuke from SoS

The lawmaker cited a video claiming there are more than 1.2 million "missing" votes.

st. paul shooting

Witnesses help identify suspect in St. Paul shooting

The shooting happened near a gas station and bus shelter Thursday just before 1 p.m.

coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, September 24

The next update will be issued on Monday and include data reported on Friday.

ambulance

Man, 24, fatally struck by semi backing onto highway in western MN

The victim was from Waite Park, the State Patrol says.

clean energy solar panels

Climate change: What experts say you should lobby your politicians about

Collective action is required to achieve the scale of change that's needed.

derek chauvin

Derek Chauvin is appealing his conviction of murdering George Floyd

He's representing himself because he doesn't have money to hire an attorney.

James Blue

Murder charges filed in crash that killed Mack Motzko, Sam Schuneman

The 51-year-old Orono man is accused of being drunk and driving nearly 100 mph.

Related