Luker pleads in faked cancer

Published 4:59 am Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Florida woman charged in a fake cancer scam has pleaded no contest to felony fraud.

Sonja Luker, who was originally arrested in April 2011, entered a plea Wednesday. Prosecutors had said she faked a terminal cancer diagnosis to solicit donations from residents and businesses in Molino, Walnut Hill and Atmore.


Luker and her husband Gerald Luker were arrested last year and charged with fraud and larceny after the couple financially benefited from several cancer fundraisers, including one in Sonja Luker’s honor in 2009 at the Alabama Wing House according to the Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Atmore fundraiser alone raised nearly $9,000 and included a nearly 100-mile Labor Day motorcycle ride. Red T-shirts were also sold with the words, “I helped Sonja Kick Cancer” printed on the front.

Officials with the sheriff’s office said fundraisers held between 2004 and 2010 raised nearly $20,000.

According to the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office, Luker could face up to five years in prison.

Charges against her husband Gerald were dropped after he made restitution payments to identifiable victims and made a donation to the American Cancer Society.