RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina woman was arrested Thursday after admitting that she lied about having cancer to help pay for her medical bills, according to the sheriff's office.
Amy Ellissa Hammer, 30, of Seagrove, faces an indictment for felony attempt to obtain property by false pretense and three counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense. She was given a $2,000 bond.
Amy Hammer told WGHP on March 21st that she didn't want money or attention, but claimed she had cancer to save her marriage with her husband.
"When he said he was going to leave me, it was an impulsive thing," Hammer said by phone. "We've been together so long, I was scared, terrified. That's my three kids, my husband that I've known for so long. So it was an impulsive thing and it snowballed."
The Randolph County Sheriff's Office said they began investigating fundraisers to help Hammer on March 8th after receiving reports she was obtaining property by false pretenses.
According to investigators, Hammer claimed that she had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
"I have to deal with what I've done and that I hate myself," Hammer said. "But I am sorry, I have to live with this. What I have done has hurt a lot of people, a lot."
Hammer said she will return any money given to her by members of the community. She said she wanted to clear up misinformation being shared and that she has been threatened on social media.
"Assumptions are like rumors. They just keep spreading and spreading, and I have three kids. What I've done to my children is awful, and I have to live with that. I am trying to shelter my kids right now," she said.
Trinity Wesleyan Church had been planning a fundraiser for March 23rd with several businesses donating items and services for a raffle.
Caroline Staley with Transitions Salon and Spa said employees were shocked to hear why the event was canceled.
“We’re just surprised by it, shocked by it. It’s bad for this community that someone would do that. You can’t trust people, and it makes us not want to donate because of people like that,” she said.
The sheriff's office is still working to recover any unaccounted for donations from alleged victims and determine who directly or indirectly gave Hammer money.