Wash. woman who falsely claimed terminal cancer got $100K in disability, military benefits

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A Washington woman has been sentenced to five years of probation and 60 days of home confinement after falsely claiming for years that she had cancer.

Officials say Maria Sanchez-Kountz of Steilacoom pretended to have terminal cancer from February 2012 to July 2016 to receive $82,000 in disability payments from Social Security because she said she couldn't work. She also received more than $20,000 in military medical benefits, because at the time, she was married to a military member.

When she would visit doctors during that time, she opted out of chemotherapy and radiation, and instead asked for prescription narcotics for what she claimed was chronic pain and nausea.

Sanchez-Kountz was actually working as a seamstress in Lakewood, while also collecting disability benefits. She also created a tailoring business, claiming she was a cancer survivor.

The fake cancer diagnosis eventually fell apart when medical professionals couldn't find any records of her prior treatments.

She was sentenced this week to 60 days home confinement, 100 hours of community service, five years of probation and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution.

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