LOGAN — A 27-year-old Nibley woman has pleaded guilty to faking a cancer diagnosis and stealing money from local charities.
Lesley Elizabeth Jensen appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, accepting a plea deal from state prosecutors. Under conditions of the agreement, she pleaded guilty to two counts of communications fraud, a second-degree felony and two counts of forgery, a third-degree felony. Prosecutors will not file any additional charges and agreed to drop the five remaining charges.
Cache County Attorney James Swink told the court how Jensen forged the signature of an Ogden doctor to make documents, claiming to be diagnosed with advanced stages of glioblastoma brain cancer.
Swink said several local businesses including Cafe Sabor and the Cache Valley for Hope Charity Cancer Foundation, raised over $22,000 for Jensen.
Outside the courtroom, Jensen’s attorney, Greg Skordas said his client’s guilty plea is a step toward bringing closure to the case.
“No one wanted to try it and no one wanted to put everyone through the time and really sweat, I guess of a trial,” said Skordas. “Lesley’s accepted responsibility from day one and this was just an acknowledgement of that.”
“Certainly they are serious charges and they carry very serious consequences but we’ll see what happens at the time of sentencing,” said Skordas.
Jensen was arrested December 10 and is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail. Prior to her arrest, she was being treated at Logan Regional Hospital after Cache County Sheriff’s deputies found her unconscious in a vehicle, south of Avon.
Skordas said Jensen feels sick about what she did and was physically distraught while appearing in court.
“You know, she is a sweet young lady who made a horrible mistake and she acknowledges that, horrible mistake that will live with her the rest of her life,” said Skordas. “She wants to do whatever she can do, to make it right and we’ll see how that shakes out over the next three-to-five years.”
Judge Brian Canell has scheduled sentencing for March 24. Jensen could be sentenced to up to fifteen years in prison.
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