Authorities: woman claimed to be dying of cancer to collect donations

Published 11:18 am Friday, May 5, 2017

STERRETT – A 37-year-old Sterrett woman has been arrested and charged with theft of at least $38,000 from donors who thought she was dying of cancer.


Jennifer Flynn Cataldo was arrested on Thursday, May 4, and taken to the Shelby County Jail on a total bond of $100,000 for two counts of first-degree theft by deception, Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall announced.

A joint federal and state investigation is continuing, and the attorney general urges anyone with information or who may be a possible victim of the scheme to contact the Criminal Trials Division by calling (334) 353-1875.

The AG’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began the investigation on April 13.

Cataldo allegedly used two online GoFundMe fundraising campaigns through which she received more than $38,000 from donors wishing to assist her with medical bills and a family vacation to Disney.

The fundraising campaigns identified Cataldo as a terminal cancer patient.

The investigation uncovered that Cataldo’s claim of having terminal cancer is not true, according to a release from Marshall’s office.

It is believed Cataldo acted alone in the scheme, the release said.

Marshall thanked representatives of GoFundMe for their “vigilance and cooperation.”

No additional information was released because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The case is expected to be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division.