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Mesquite mom faces multiple charges for cancer scam

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Updated: 9/24/2013 8:01 pm
MESQUITE, Nev. (KSNV & MyNews3) -- A Mesquite mother is facing 95 misdemeanor charges in connection to a cancer scam.

Hundreds of dollars were raised for her son before she was caught and arrested for the crime.

When Blanca Villarreal heard the story about a 7-year-old boy suffering from liver cancer, she gathered up a group of friends and organized a fundraiser.

“It was my passion along with my family to give to the community,” Villarreal said.

Shortly after printing out fliers and securing funds she learned the little boy didn’t really have cancer. In fact, he wasn’t sick at all. His illness was all part of his mother’s scam to collect money.

“We were shocked when we found out that it was all a lie,” Villarreal said.

Shawnanna Flores who goes by the name Star turned herself in to police Monday night. According to police dozens of people and businesses in Mesquite were scammed into donating money and supplies to Flores when she falsely claimed her son was ill.

She even went as far as cutting her’s and her son’s hair off to make it seem as if he'd undergone chemo therapy.

Fortunately, Villarreal caught on to Flores’ scam and dropped her son from the event when she couldn’t provide documentation of his illness.

“I was sad because why would you put your son through that, why would you make your son believe he had cancer and he doesn’t have caner, I just don’t understand,” Villarreal said.

A gas station is one of several businesses in town that reached out to help Flores and her family. A carwash was held here a few weeks ago in honor of her 7-year-old.

Gas station manager Ivan Estrada says he remembers Flores telling him about her son’s illness he says out of the kindness of his heart he allowed her to host the car wash at his station and place donation cans at the register.

“I try to help out as many people as I can and stuff,” Flores said.

People here now heartbroken for Flores’ young son left to live with the consequences of his mother’s crime.

Flores was arraigned Tuesday morning. Her bail is set at $65,000.

--- Venise Toussaint, KSNV News 3
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