Mom Who Stole Cancer Funds Sentenced In Western New York

03.01.12 | Bob Price

Holcomb has been getting help for her gambling addiction and begun paying back money she stole after being convicted last year of stealing nearly $15,000 from a fund set up for donations for her son's cancer treatments at Roswell Park. The 46-year-old woman told the judge on Wednesday that she was in the grip of a "vicious, cunning and powerful" disease that led her to steal the donations.

"First of all, I would like to say to my son, and my family, and my community, I am extremely sorry for what has happened," Holcomb said.

Holcomb, a nurse, said she has been addicted to gambling for six or seven years, visiting several casinos, including those in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, while her son was being treated for cancer at Roswell Park. She used donations from benefits for her son and even money sent in "Get Well" cards to fuel her addition.

Holcomb said, "I don't understand how it came to this. I'm trying to understand."

The judge sentenced Holcomb five years probation and 200 hours of community service. She must also pay back all $15,000 she gambled away.

Her attorney, Daniel Dubois, said, "She needs to continue with her treatment, continue paying the restitution, and follow the rules of probation."

Dubois added his client has around $7,000 left to pay back. District Attorney Frank Sedita told News 4 this is one of the more odd cases his office has prosecuted.

"This one stands out. It's not every day that a mother essentially steals from her own cancer-ridden child to fund her gambling habit," he said.

Some of the donors want their money, around $1,475, back. The rest of the money Holcomb pays back will go to her son.