Monique Alexis Coria received tens of thousands of dollars from sympathetic donors. They believed their money was going to a good cause: treatment for a 1-year-old child who had been diagnosed with Oligodendroglioma. This rare brain tumor has a 70% 5-year survival rate.
Later, donors discovered that the problem was not in the brain of the daughter but in her mentality.
The cancerous lie
KOLD reported that Phoenix Children’s Hospital staff alerted police on Oct. 5 to fraud by her husband.
Court papers showed that the couple brought their 1-year-old daughter to the emergency room for “unnecessary procedures” and claimed she had brain cancer. To give credence to their claims made online, they took photos of their daughter in the emergency department.
Staff informed the police that Coria and her husband had created a GoFundMe claim they needed money to pay the medical bills.
Coria also received sympathy on TikTok by posting about her child and fake condition.
Chris Sullivan is the founder of the Fight Like Our Kids Instagram group. His daughter, Coria, died from brain cancer. KNXV was informed by Sullivan that Coria reached out to him asking for his support.
KNXV was shown KNXV images of Coria. The caption read: “Natalia’s tumor grew.” Today was the day we found out. We need so much support right now.”
“She preyed upon a group of people… who don’t want to you to feel alone, and don’t want to see you go through this alone,” stated Sullivan.
Katherine Penna is one of the donors. She works at a pharmacy. Penna stated that she did research on the medications Coria needed and found out the price. She also sent her coupons.
Ashley Jimenez, another victim of fraud, claimed she was conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jimenez, whose father was battling cancer herself, shared with KCOP that she spent months planning a fundraiser to support Coria. Jimenez hosted a “Tacos for Cancer” event for Natalia at El Monte’s San Gabriel Valley Airport on June 4. It was sponsored by multiple companies and was titled “Nobody fights alone”.
Jimenez said that “so many people came together that morning with open hearts, open minds, and we were manipulated.”
According to court documents, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital staff told police that the child had never been diagnosed as having brain cancer.
Staff at the hospital reported that parents had spent over $13,000 on GoFundMe in the initial report.
Coria also received untold amounts in donations from other money-sharing apps like Zelle, Cashapp, and LinkTree.
Coria was banned from GoFundMe and some of her donors were refunded.
The real malignancies must be treated
Following the tip from the hospital staff, Department of Child Safety officers accompanied police on an Oct. 13 visit to Coria’s home.
Coria quickly changed her mind about her baby’s brain cancer. She said instead that Natalia was suffering from seizures. For which, she took medication.
Coria claimed that a friend had started GoFundMe for her. Coria, under scrutiny, changed her story once more, saying that her husband started the campaign to help them with rent and gas money.
He clarified that his wife had created the account under his name, and claimed that he believed Coria had brain cancer. However, he had not seen any documentation attesting to this diagnosis.
KOLD reports that Coria later admitted to her husband that she didn’t know that their daughter was not sick.
Coria, according to court documents, admitted she knew that the baby wasn’t suffering from cancer. She also said that it was fraudulent for her to ask for money. Tiktok had proven her wrong. She claimed she was in a “bad place”.
The “bad place” was well-funded.
Police say Coria stated that she and her husband had bilked donors $11,000. $4,000 was spent on rent and gasoline.
Investigators discovered that Coria used some of the donated money to purchase luxury items like a Gucci wallet or a $600 blow dryer. This was because they had “all their expenses covered” with the donation money. Court documents show that the couple spent the money on designer fashion and “rent, clothes. food. toys. TV. and medication.”
Chris Sullivan, one alleged victim of fraud, said that Coria and her husband took a lot of cash over a period of a few months.
The couple was arrested on Oct. 17. Coria was arrested for fraudulent schemes and artifices. This is a class 2 crime.
In April, the county attorney resubmitted the case to the police and requested more evidence. Although the Tolleson Police has not yet submitted the case again, AZFamily suggested that this may change soon and that Coria is being investigated for a separate fraud scheme.
Scammers in multiple states
Angel Quihuis, one of Coria’s alleged victims, said to AZFamily he had moved the couple into AZFamily’s home after they had been living at a motel. The couple allegedly scammed Quihuis three times while he was his guest.
Coria claimed that she was an employee of Live Nation and sold Quihuis tickets for Pitbull’s 2021 concert. Quihuis brought his entire family to the venue only to discover that the tickets weren’t valid. “It was one the most embarrassing things ever, dude.
Coria also allegedly used Karissa Sanchez’s ticket scam to get $300 for tickets she never received.
Sanchez stated, “From me alone [Coria] took] probably $450 to $500… With other people — all of my coworkers and family friends? It was probably a good $6,000.”
Coria took Quihuis’s deposit for an English bulldog, the second time. Quihuis did not get the dog.
After promising Autumn Franco two French bulldog puppies, the scammer allegedly took Autumn Franco for $1500.
Coria, allegedly, ripped Quihuis for a Disneyland trip that never took place.
Quihuis had misunderstood the couple as friends and kicked them out after $3,000 was gone missing.
Quihuis said to AZFamily, that when he learned of Coria’s arrest, it “did put a grin on my face knowing justice had been served.”