EDGEWOOD, Ky. — “Cancer has touched everybody out there,” Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said Monday night. “Everyone knows someone who has suffered who could use charity.”
His office believes 25-year-old Jessica Krecskay spent four years pretending to be that someone, swindling over $10,000 out of well-intentioned supporters to cover medical expenses that didn’t exist.
Krecskay was arrested Feb. 14 and charged with theft by deception, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The people who had supported her through her phony diagnosis were the ones to turn her in, Sanders said.
“A couple years ago, we had another case where a young lady was prosecuted for receiving funds that were gotten under the mistaken belief that she had cancer,” he said, referring to the scandal surrounding Northern Kentucky University student Kelly Schmahl.
The Delta Zeta sorority member went to extreme lengths to keep her friends convinced she had a gastrointestinal tumor, including shaving her head, asking them to walk her to fake chemotherapy appointments and purchasing medical equipment such as a wheelchair.
They, in turn, held fundraising events and collected thousands of dollars to cover the cost of treatment.
So did Krecskay’s friends, according to Sanders. He said when Schmahl’s story broke, they noticed similarities they couldn’t ignore. Like Schmahl, Krecskay had benefited from fundraisers in her name between 2013 and 2017. Unlike Schmahl, she seemed to make a miraculous recovery from a severe illness once the money had been counted.
“The defendant should be embarrassed by what she did,” Sanders said. “We intend to hold her accountable.”
Krecskay had been released on bail by Monday night. Sanders said he expected her in court the following week.