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Utah mom lies about daughter's cancer to scam donations, police say

By Mayra Cuevas, CNN
updated 8:07 AM EDT, Thu August 22, 2013
Abreail Denise
Abreail Denise "Abby" Winkler, 30, told her daughter she had cancer so she could scam donations.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police: Utah woman tells daughter, girl's dad, community girl has cancer to get donations
  • Abreail Denise "Abby" Winkler, 30, collected more than $3,000, Vernal police allege
  • "When she was around her dad, the little girl would talk about having cancer," police say
  • Winkler is charged with communications fraud, court papers say

(CNN) -- A Utah woman lied about her 4-year-old daughter having cancer -- including to the girl and the girl's father -- to scam donations in her community, investigators said.

The mother, Abreail Denise "Abby" Winkler, 30, "told the girl she had cancer and that she would be treated. When she was around her dad, the little girl would talk about having cancer," said Keith Campbell, assistant chief of the Vernal Police Department.

Winkler was charged with one count of communications fraud, a third degree felony, according to court documents. She was booked into the Uintah County Jail and posted a $5,000 bond.

"In early July we started the investigation and quickly determined that Abreail Winkler had told people in the community that the 4-year-old had leukemia. During the investigation, it was determined that the child never had leukemia. No records for treatments were located," Cambpell said.

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Investigators said donors who gave a total of more than $3,000 want their money back for "getting duped," said Campbell. "She wasn't actively going door to door, but our local high school drill team did a fund-raiser for her, and so did a private dance teacher and private donors," he said.

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The child's father did not live in the same home as the mother, Campbell said. The father told investigators that "when he inquired about the cancer, he was told not to worry about it because the child was receiving treatment."

Winkler's initial appearance is scheduled for September 9.

Read more: N.Y. woman arraigned in One Fund Boston scam

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