Mom accused of telling son he had cancer charged with abuse

Boy, 6, with sign about his "fight against cancer"; authorities in Aurora, Col. says his mother lied to him about having cancer in a scheme that raised more than $25,000
CBS Denver
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The Colorado mother accused of lying to her son to convince him he had cancer, so she could benefit from the fundraising, has been formally charged.

CBS Denver reports that Sandy Nguyen, 28, of Aurora, is charged with theft, charitable fraud and child abuse.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department says Nguyen convinced her son, family and the community around them that her 6-year-old had cancer since September of 2012. According to the station, the community raised over $25,000 for the boy, which was placed into an account for the family to use.

The arrest affidavit says the principal at the boy's school told police during fundraising events they had 100 percent participation from over 600 students. Some of the children even gave up allowance and asked grandparents for money to help.

Deputies say Nguyen even took a trip to Disneyland during the scheme.

The affidavit says a doctor, who got her hair cut by the mother, said the treatment the mother was describing for her son's cancer was not accurate. The doctor later found out from Children's Hospital that the child was actually being treated for asthma, not cancer. Children's Hospital then filed a neglect report.

According to CBS Denver, the affidavit says Nguyen's son told investigators "he believes he has cancer and is going to die" and "he gets chemotherapy at night when he's sleeping." The boy reportedly had patches of hair and his eyebrows missing, and told investigators "his mom shaves his head every morning before school" and "he never gets sick from the chemo."

Prosecutors say they are still trying to determine the scope of how many people were victimized by Nguyen's scheme.

Nguyen is out of custody on bond. She is due back in court in April.