SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A Utah woman and human rights advocate has been arrested for allegedly faking a cancer diagnosis and profiting off a GoFundMe campaign.
South Jordan Police say the suspect is 28-year-old Coco Berthmann.
Court documents say Berthmann is accused of defrauding the public with a fraudulent cancer diagnosis that was linked to a public charity campaign.
Authorities say Berthmann claimed to be suffering from Stage 3 Mantle Cell Lymphoma that was diagnosed in Jan. 2022, A family friend had created a GoFundMe account for Berthmann that eventually raised around $9,000.
Berthmann claimed she was receiving treatments at Huntsman Cancer Institute along with specialists in Chicago and Alaska. Authorities say there was no records found to substantiate those claims.
She allegedly told the GoFundMe account creator she needed financial assistance for costly medical treatments related to her diagnosis.
When authorities asked Berthmann to provide copies of medical documents confirming her cancer diagnosis, she “never followed through.”
After a warrant was sent to acquire medical records from the Hunstman Institute, the organization says she was never a cancer patient there had only been prescribed anxiety medication. The same negative results were discovered after the specialists in Alaska and Chicago were also contacted.
When authorities confronted Berthmann about the discovery, she changed her story, saying she was actually being treated at an Intermountain Hospital. Authorities also confirmed that wasn’t true.
After being placed into custody, Berthmann claimed she possessed the correct medical documents in a specific drawer, but when authorities searched the location, they only found documents relating to taxes, vehicles, school and other personal records.
Berthmann has been investigated in the past for false allegations of being a child sex slave and witnessing her sister’s murder — neither of which are true, authorities say. Berthmann also claimed she was working with the FBI and Davis County District Attorney’s Office as a sex trafficking witness which was also untrue.
Berthmann has been arrested on charges of communications fraud. She has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.