Prosecutors: Woman faked illness for cash

June 23, 2009 10:22:10 AM PDT
An eastern Pennsylvania woman will stand trial for allegedly faking a rare illness to solicit donations.

Twenty-five-year-old Jenna Esslinger of Reading waived her preliminary hearing before District Judge Dean Patton on Monday on charges of violating solicitation laws, forgery and related offenses.

Prosecutors say Esslinger claimed she had the rare kidney disorder amyloidosis and a precancerous condition in order to solicit money.

Authorities say Esslinger told her story to two Pennsylvania newspapers and collected more than $12,000. The investigation began when an organization wanting to make a donation could not verify Esslinger's illness.

Defense attorney Allan L. Sodomsky says he is negotiating with the Berks County district attorney's office about settling the matter.

Esslinger is free on bail.

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