SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WATE) – A Sweetwater woman who admitted to lying about having cancer after more than $8,000 was raised for her treatment was sentenced to two years in prison.
Ashley Nicole Lively received the maximum sentence for theft. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,375.
After she was placed in handcuffs, Lively showed little emotion. However, others in the courtroom showed a range of emotions. Chief Assistant District Attorney Shari Tayloe was emotional as she delivered closing remarks.
“I don’t think there’s a person in the room that hasn’t been affected by cancer,” said Taylor. “When she did this, she abused the trust that we all have.”
Lively pleaded guilty in March to theft. A GoFundMe account was created to help raise money for her supposed treatment. Investigators say the truth came to light when someone contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office wondering how a supposedly sick Lively had gone on vacation to Florida.
Brittany Morrow, who donated to Lively, took the stand Friday to testify. Morrow said she started having doubts after helping Lively.
“I said Ashley, people think you’re lying. If you’re lying, just come clean,” said Morrow.
Prosecutors pointed out that Lively only came clean after she was under investigation. In closing arguments, Lively’s attorney attributed her actions to immaturity.
In the end, Judge Mark Fierberg said a lack of remorse is what led him to choose the maximum penalty in the case. He said 14 months has gone by without any action from Lively to pay back the people she took money from.
“Just imagine the effect that you’ve had on all these people, who may be apprehensive about ever being able to be charitable as they once were because of your scam,” said Judge Frieberg to Lively. “I’m not sure the law adequately compensates for the amount of punishment that you deserve for your conduct. If I had the legal ability to give you more time, I would have.”
Morrow said she felt justice was serviced, but hoped to see Lively learn a lesson from her lies.