An Arizona woman who faked cancer to have a taxpayer-funded abortion was sentenced to almost three decades in prison for fraud and other crimes on Thursday.
Chalice Renee Zeitner, of Phoenix, Arizona has a history of fraudulent activity. Earlier this year, she was found guilty of fraud schemes, theft, money laundering, identity theft and other fraud-related charges in three separate cases. One involved her faking a life-threatening cancer diagnosis to get a late-term, taxpayer-funded abortion. Another involved fraudulent activities that took advantage of several veterans charities.
On Thursday, a Maricopa Superior Court Judge Pamela Gates sentenced Zeitner to a total of 28 years in prison for her 23 convictions in the cases, AZ Central reports.
According to the report:
Chalice Renee Zeitner was sentenced to 2½ years for four counts of driving under the influence, 10 years for 11 counts of fraud, forgery and identity theft and 15¾ years for eight counts of fraud, money laundering, theft and taking a person’s identity.
The sentences will be served consecutively, Gates ruled. Zeitner has 488 days of pre-sentence incarceration credit that will be applied toward her prison time.
… Mike Focareto, founder and CEO of Veteran Tickets Foundation, a non-profit from which Zeitner stole more than $12,000, said he couldn’t have asked for anything better in terms of the lengthy sentence Zeitner received.
“I’m glad that she can’t do it to anybody else,” Focareto said. “It was worth the fight and worth the effort. Ultimately those that we served were the ones that got bamboozled.”
During the sentencing, Zeitner cried and told the judge that she deserves the maximum sentence for her crimes.
“As much as they have been affected, I have been affected. The one true victim in this case is definitely Veterans Tickets and Michael Focareto. I feel like they were definitely wronged,” Zeitner said.
The reports do not indicate whether she mentioned her unborn child, another victim of her crimes.
In April, a jury found Zeitner guilty of faking a cancer diagnosis and forging a doctor’s note to have a taxpayer-funded abortion in 2010, claiming the abortion was medically necessary to save her life, according to court documents.
State officials said $6,346.48 taxpayer dollars were spent to abort her late-term unborn child, according to The Arizona Republic. Women can have abortions paid for through the Arizona Medicaid program if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or if the woman’s life is in jeopardy.
In a horrifying detail of the case, her baby was born alive after the abortion and left to die, according to court documents. The baby was approximately 22 weeks along and weighed more than 1 pound, according to ABC 15. The child possibly could have lived if he or she had received proper medical care. However, “the baby lived for approximately 20 minutes and received no life-saving measure by hospital staff,” according to court documents.
In August, a separate jury found Zeitner guilty of fraudulent charges related to her involvement in several military veterans charities. She got involved with the groups by claiming that she was a Marine Corps veteran, a lawyer and a race car driver, according to a local news report. She solicited tens of thousands of dollars in donations for a fictitious gala that she claimed to be planning for the veterans organizations, the report states. She also reportedly stole the identity of the Veterans Hope founder, opened credit card accounts in the founder’s name and amassed more than $25,000 in debt.