This story has been updated to include information about Amanda Riley's background.
A former Gilroy educator pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud for soliciting donations from individuals to help her pay for cancer treatments she did not need nor received, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Amanda Christine Riley admitted to purposely deceiving people into thinking she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in order to receive monetary donations from 2013 to 2019, says a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California.
Riley, now 36, was a resident of San Jose at the time of the fraud. She previously worked as the principal at Pacific Point Elementary School in west Gilroy. She worked for the school for about three years and resigned in July 2020, just before federal authorities charged her with felony wire fraud.
In 2012, Riley posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, along with a personal blog, to follow her fake journey in receiving cancer treatment. She would post photos of her medication, hospital visits and shared her difficulties with chemotherapy. Riley also shaved her head to make it seem like she was receiving cancer treatment.
When people donated to her fundraising page, the funds would go to Riley’s bank account, not for cancer treatment, according to authorities. Riley said she received $106,272 in donations from her fake illness.
Riley’s sentencing is scheduled for February 2022. She faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.