ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A New Mexico woman is accused of faking cancer and setting up a fake charity to raise money for others with the disease but then pocketing that money.
Elizabeth Bateman, a Los Alamos native, turned herself into the Steamboat Springs Police Department in Colorado Friday morning.
According to police documents Bateman told everyone she had terminal cancer.
"She said that she wanted to start an organization that helped young adults with terminal illnesses something similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Nicole Kofoed.
With the help of friends Bateman created the Friends Through the Fight Foundation. A single fundraiser held in Colorado where Bateman was living last year raised $7,000.
It is money everyone thought was going to help others, but according to police Bateman was helping herself with the cash, going on cruises, skydiving and taking helicopter and hot air balloon rides.
"It was heartbreaking, I didn't know what to think at first," Kofoed said.
Kofoed grew up with Bateman in Los Alamos.
In an interview with KRQE News 13 she said she reached out to Bateman on Facebook when she learned of the cancer. At the time, Kofoed's mother had recently died from the disease.
"Elizabeth seemed to ask me a lot of questions about what I had been through with my mom, and I was very open and honest with her because I thought I was helping," she said.
But now, Kofoed thinks Bateman was using those details to further her own story because the 34-year-old never had cancer.
According to court documents, Bateman made the story up going as far as shaving her head and pretending to have morphine injections. The morphine turned out to be saline solution.
Another friend said she even took Bateman from Colorado to Chimayó.
"She wanted to go to get this sacred dirt so she could be healed," Michelle Beck said.
Bateman's con unraveled in March. She was sick, and a friend took her to the hospital where Bateman claimed she had received treatment for her cancer.
However, the doctors said there was no record of her ever undergoing cancer treatment there.
At that point, Bateman bolted and according to her brother moved to Albuquerque.
"She's already in New Mexico like making new friends and talking to them and telling them God knows what," said Beck.
Police said Bateman also pulled the fake cancer scam in Texas.
According to friends there have been fundraisers for Bateman in New Mexico.
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