A woman from St. Peters, Missouri, will likely receive probation in connection with a felony charge that she faked having cancer. The 23-year-old has admitted to the crime, pleading guilty to forging a physician's signature as part of the hoax. As part of the plea bargain, the woman will avoid facing trial for the charge of stealing, according to area prosecutors.

Authorities said the woman, who had been a graduate student in the education department at Truman State University, pretended to have cancer, reaping gifts including meals, hats and wigs. A fundraiser had also been planned for her benefit, according to local officials. The principal at the school where the woman was doing her field work came to suspect that she was not terminally ill, however, and began independently investigating.

After the principal requested a doctor's note to account for the woman's absenteeism, the principal was still suspicious. He called the physician listed on the note to determine whether the woman was truly ill; at that point, the woman's cover was effectively blown. The woman had created the physician's note on her computer. She even went so far as to shave her head to make it seem like she was genuinely ill.

Prosecutors are recommending against jail time for the woman in connection with the felony forgery case. During the June 3 sentencing, the woman will likely be placed on probation and required to complete certain other punishments, which may include court fees and fines. She will also be ordered to pay restitution for those people she solicited for money and gifts.

In this case, the woman will likely avoid jail because of her willingness to admit to her crimes. A significant amount of evidence exists to support the charges against the woman, so a guilty plea allowed the woman's defense attorneys to negotiate for less severe punishment. The plea bargain also resulted in the dismissal of at least one charge against the woman.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "St. Peters woman accused of faking cancer admits forgery," Mark Schlinkmann, April 1, 2013