A Wilkinson Middle School teacher's aide lied about having cancer and happily accepted cash donations from students and staff, the school principal said.
First-year Mesquite teacher's aide Kevin Mabone accepted a donated car and $1,000 from students at Wilkinson late last week. Now, it's clear he does not have prostate cancer, and they were duped. Teachers and students at the Mesquite middle school say they feel betrayed.
"We just thought we had to do something, we have to help this man who has cancer and doesn't have a car," said principal Leslie Fineglas. "We asked him, 'Can we say on the GoFundMe that you have cancer?' He said yes. We said, 'Can we say you need a car?' He said yes. He was very excited that we were doing this for him. We were very excited."
More than $11,000 dollars in GoFundMe donations poured in.
"I can't say enough good things. Oh my goodness I can't believe this, I just cannot believe this," Mabone said in front of cameras on Friday.
But by Monday, when he was supposed to have surgery, Mabone's story turned murky.
"He called about 11 a.m. and said that they had done some extra scans and his cancer was cured," Fineglas said. "And they were still going to remove the tumor and he would be out for a couple of days, and we just thought that sounded kinda weird."
A quick Google search revealed what Fineglas describes as a nightmare.
The school says 56-year old Mabone confessed he is not suffering from cancer, but actually facing sentencing for fraud in West Virginia.
The U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of West Virginia also says Mabone admitted using government funds while working at another Job Corps in Florida. Records show he's moved several times over the years to many different states.
"I've done nothing but cry," Fineglas said. "I talked with him twice on the phone yesterday, asking him if it's true. Hopefully, the car will come back."
Mabone's ex-wife said he's lied about having cancer before.
GoFundMe said all donations made to the Mabone account will be refunded to people.