Mom explains why she 'faked' having cancer
MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WTVR-CNN) — For the last two years Martha Nicholas has been known as the woman who faked having cancer.
This week a judge handed down a 10-year prison sentence to the 43-year-old Mechanicsville mother after she plead no contest in January to Medicaid fraud and obtaining money under false pretenses. The judge suspended all 10 years of that sentence, meaning Nicholas will serve no time behind bars.
Judge Overton Harris said he suspended the sentence because he believed jail time served no purpose. Harris said he believed Nicholas' case has more to do with mental illness than fraud.
Nicholas and her husband spoke to CBS 6 investigative reporter Catie Beck about her illness, in an interview she called her "first and last."
"When did you have the realization that you didn't have cancer, when did that sink in for you?" Beck asked Nicholas.
"I don't know that it really hit me until I was at the psychiatric hospital and you know I was getting pressured to try and figure some things out," she replied.
Nicholas said it was while undergoing mental treatment that she realized her diagnosis and battle with the disease existed entirely in her mind.
"To think that I am capable of doing something like that is terrifying," she said.
It was an anonymous tip that lead Hanover investigators to Nicholas two years ago. At that time, the married mother of three was receiving community sympathy and charitable donations by sharing her cancer story with others.
The investigation led to her arrest, a high profile scandal and a series of court battles that left Nicholas with misdemeanor and felony convictions on her record.