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California woman's prison sentence tripled after she fakes cancer diagnosis

By Taffy Bernales Published Jul 07, 2022 4:10 pm

A Californian citizen is facing longer jail time after deceiving judges with forged medical notes that claimed she had cancer to avoid going to prison.

With her medical notes discovered fake, Ashleigh Lynn Chavez now has to serve an additional two years on top of her original 12-month sentence. 

The 38-year-old woman, who was found guilty of embezzling more than $160,000 (about P8.9 million) from her former employer, previously managed to put off prison time with multiple doctors’ notes that claimed she had "cancerous cells" in her uterus. However, the notes and the medical condition were all proven to be fake. 

“This defendant went to appalling lengths to avoid her initial prison sentence by falsifying medical documents to claim she had cancer. This offensive conduct is an affront to every person fighting that battle,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy said in a report by AP press. 

Another falsified document indicated that Chavez had to go through surgery, while one note also justified her inability to pay her former employer given her ill state.  

Meanwhile, a medical document written by a so-called oncologist from San Diego claimed that Chavez’s fragile condition deemed it necessary not to be exposed to the coronavirus. The doctor also expressed how sending the patient behind bars would be similar to a “death sentence.”  

“(A) year in prison could be a death sentence for my patient. Her exposure to the Delta variant of COVID-19 would compromise her health tremendously,” the note said. This comes after Chavez asked the sentencing judge to serve time in home confinement. 

Federal officials stated that Chavez’s attorneys believed that the documents they submitted to court were legitimate. Her attorney, Benjamin Kington, even noted in a sentencing memorandum how “terrified” his client was about being separated from her newborn son. 

However, the doctors have denied writing and signing the documents.  

Chavez pleaded guilty in 2019 and brought up her “aggressive” medical condition, buying her three months through her sentencing hearing last March 31, 2021. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California, she managed to push back a total of six months after the judge had been fooled into believing that she was receiving medical treatment. 

Chavez is also guilty of obstruction charges due to committing “fraud in the federal court.” 

“The defendant obstructed justice by committing a fraud on the federal court,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in Merced Sun-Star’s report. “The lengthy sentence in this case – double the prison term that she initially received — demonstrates just how ill-advised it was for this defendant to attempt to delay the payment of her debt to society.”