Cancer swindler now faces Medicaid fraud charges

Martha Nicholas is accused of Medicaid fraud
Martha Nicholas is accused of Medicaid fraud

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - A woman who pretended she beat cancer four times to rake in thousands of dollars, now faces charges of Medicaid fraud.

A grand jury indicted 42-year-old Martha Nicholas of Mechanicsville Tuesday on 3 counts of Medicaid fraud and 2 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. All of the charges are felonies. Hanover Sheriff's arrested her and took her to the Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover County.

Nicholas had posed as an outspoken cancer activist, sharing inspiration on Facebook with cancer victims. She was seen wearing a "Cancer Sucks" shirt, telling others how she beat cancer four times and raising more than $12,000. Most went to the American Cancer Society, but she kept $2,000 which she claimed were for medical expenses, according to her lawyer.

However, Nicholas' scheme began unraveling in April 2011, when an anonymous tipster told authorities that Nicholas' cancer claims were fake. Police say there's no evidence she ever had cancer. Her lawyer says her illness was not physical, but psychiatric.

In February, Nicholas pleaded guilty to taking money under false pretenses. She was ordered to pay a $50 fine for each of the charges and to perform community service. She was also ordered not to work for a charity or civic organization, and ordered not to raise funds or speak for a charity for five years. In exchange, she avoided jail time. As for the money, her lawyer says that has now been paid back.

Now the investigation has yielded more charges, as Hanover Sheriff's say Nicholas defrauded Medicaid.

Nicholas is currently free on bond pending an arraignment in Hanover County Circuit Court on June 27, 2012, at 9 a.m.

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