Published April 22, 2012
HORIZON CITY, Texas – A Texas prom queen who raised more than $17,000 after telling classmates she was dying of cancer was arrested and charged with theft-by-deception.
Angie Gomez, 19, told her family, friends and fiance in January 2011 that she had six months to live after battling leukemia since childhood.
The Horizon City teen set up her own charity foundation, called "Achieve the Dream," and raised $17,000 from fundraisers, checks, gift cards and in-kind donations, the El Paso Times reported.
Gomez claimed that her condition caused her to miss her senior prom, and so Da Vinci High School held another in her honor in June 2011 -- the same month police received a complaint that Gomez did not appear to be ill.
A long-running investigation revealed that the hospitals Gomez said had treated her held no record of her as a patient.
She was finally held Friday at her place of work after a warrant was issued, Detective Liliana Medina said.
Gomez's lawyer, Sheldon Myers, told KVIA, "She has a real soft spot for people that suffer from those types of diseases, and that's why she was trying to get money for them."
Myers insisted that the teen did suffer from leukemia and cancer as a child and had good intentions for the money.
Officers said that the teen's mother told them she did not realize the extent of her daughter's fundraising and believed Gomez was trying to "straighten out the matter," the El Paso Times reported.
Gomez was jailed, with bond set at $50,000.