For more than a year, her friends believed Jean Anne Allen was dying of liver cancer.
At Medical Weight Loss Clinic in Jackson, where she worked, her co-workers stepped up. They organized blood drives, and a fundraiser at the high school in Napoleon to help pay for expensive medical treatments.
One friend was tested and prepared to donate part of her liver.
"Her co-workers had really gone above and beyond even normal friendships, certainly co-worker relationships," Detective Sgt. Lisa Gee-Cram, with Michigan State Police Jackson post, says.
The police have accounted for just under $20,000 in donations Allen received. Gee-Cram says they came from businesses, friends, strangers, and school children. "I'm very confidant it's more than that," she adds.
The problem, she says, their investigation revealed Jean Anne Allen's medical records don't mention cancer.
Allen was arraigned Thursday on a charge of obtaining the money under false pretenses. She faces 5 years in prison and fines three times the size of what she allegedly took.
Gee-Cram doesn't have a theory on why Allen would have faked her own cancer. If the allegation prove true, she says, her motive may not matter.
"I don't think there are any money roubles that would justify using the sympathy of a terminal illness, especially cancer that touches so many people," Gee-Cram says.
Allen is out on bond. Several attempts to contact her attorney were unsuccessful Thursday.