Sonja Luker Receives Jail Time In Molino Cancer Scam Case
May 10, 2012
A Molino woman has been sentenced to almost a year in jail for making up a cancer diagnosis for financial gain.
Sonja Luker was sentenced by Judge Joel Boles Thursday morning to 364 days in jail to be followed by 18 months probation and 200 hours of community service. She will not be allowed to perform her community service in a hospital or raising funds for any medical issue.
Back in March, Luker pleaded no contest to a felony fraud charge; a previous grand theft charge against her was dropped in May 2011.
Charges were dropped against her husband, Gerald “Chris” Luker after he made restitution to each identifiable victim and made a donation to the American Cancer Society.
“The evidence indicated that he believed that his wife had cancer,” Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said last month, “and that he was not criminally involved.”
According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, numerous fundraisers were held between May 2004 and October 2010 that raised over $19,000. Sheriff’s investigators found that about $14,000 was used in 2009 to avoid foreclosure on their home in the 4700 block of Pine Circle Drive and about $4,000 in cash was used by Chris Luker to purchase a 1997 Harley motorcycle, according to an arrest report.
Chris Luker provided the funds to make restitution to those that donated to the “Sonja Luker Kickin Cancer Fund” and checks were mailed to victims in February. Victims that made donations by check received the full amount of the original donation.
By tracing bank deposits, prosecutors found $8,506.81 in donations that were made in cash by unknown donors to Sonja Luker. Chris Luker agreed to make an equal donation of $8,506.81 to the American Cancer Society “with the intent of the original donors to support the cure for cancer,” according to a letter that known victims received from the State Attorney’s Office.
Under the plea agreement, Chris Luker will be unable to claim a tax deduction for his donation to the American Cancer Society.
Pictured inset: Sonja Luker’s mugshot after she was booked into the Escambia County Jail Thursday. Pictured top: Sonja and Chris Luker (in black shirts) are seen in a 2009 NorthEscambia.com photo from a motorcycle ride fundraiser that benefited her alleged fight against cancer. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.