Woman who falsely claimed to have cancer must repay money

October 13, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman who received nearly $27,000 in donations to pay for medical treatment after falsely telling family and friends she had cancer has avoided prison but must repay the money, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Alicia Pierini, 39, of Woonsocket, went so far as to shave her head and eyebrows to make it appear as if she was sick, according to a statement from the office of state Attorney General Peter Neronha.

Pierini pleaded no contest last week to obtaining money under false pretenses. She received a 10-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay restitution.


Almost $11,000 came from family and friends in the form of direct contributions, and about $16,000 came from an online crowdfunding campaign, authorities said.

The money was not used for medical care, but for trips, tickets to sporting events and other personal expenses, prosecutors said.

State police started investigating in May 2017 after receiving several tips from people skeptical about Pierini’s claims.