Mother sentenced to state prison for claiming newborn had rare bone marrow disease
Police say 23-year-old Arielle Lucinda Poor’s scam began shortly after she gave birth to baby Myah who was born July 8, 2010. Poor deceitfully sought and received money, donors for breast milk and bone marrow, saying the infant suffered from cancer. She claimed she had miscarried a pregnancy and was hoping a sibling could provide bone marrow for Myah.
Poor, who reportedly went by the names Arielle Odom, Luci Brooks and Arielle Lucinda Brooks, received a suspended sentence for abduction and contributing to the delinquency of minors in 2009. On April 6, 2008, Poor was said to have called and sent text messages to a Berks County, Pennyslvania man she knew, claiming she had been kidnapped by four assailants who forced her into a van, stripped her, and bound her with tape.
Under Judge Leonard Zito’s sentence, Poor will serve 14 to 28 months behind bars, followed by four years of probation, for scheming more than $10,000 by claiming her daughter, Myah, had leukemia and a rare bone marrow disease.
Baby Myah had a Facebook page to raise money for her medical bills, a YouTube video with a pastor calling for help on her behalf, and fundraisers at homes and restaurants. But the baby girl had no real illness, authorities said, and Poor was charged last year after prosecutors learned about the fraud.
On Friday, defense attorney Steven Mills described the crime as a cry for attention that spiraled out of control.
Mills says Myah began having seizures, and ended up being diagnosed with a relatively common syndrome. Poor enjoyed the loving concern from her friends and family and never told them the truth about Myah’s diagnosis, he said.
“For the first time in her adult life, she was getting help and support and it made her feel good,” Mills said.
“I never meant for this to happen and to hurt all the people that I hurt,” said Poor, who was in a wheelchair, and due to give birth in May. “It was never, it was never about money.”
Poor was reportedly expecting to be sentenced to county prison on Friday, for the felony theft charge to which she earlier admitted. But the Northampton County judge sent the 23-year-old former Pen Argyl woman to state prison, saying that scams like hers are what cause people to think twice before opening their hearts and wallets to those in need. Even her defense attorney said she is a mentally ill woman who wants help and is glad she was caught.