Arizona scam artist Chalice Zeitner, 31, has been sentenced to 28 years behind bars for a shocking roster of 17 felonies that include her forging medical documents, defrauding a military charity, and faking cancer to get the state to pay for a late-term abortion.
At various points in her litany of cons, Zeitner claimed to be a highly decorated combat veteran, a professional race-car driver, a high-profile attorney from South Africa, and a gravely ill cancer patient. FBI Special Agent Heather Rivera, who has been witness to a lot throughout her career, said of Zeitner’s case, “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”
Back in April, a jury convicted Zeitner of fraud. That case stemmed from a 2010 incident, wherein Zeitner, who was pregnant, faked medical documents indicating that she needed an abortion before she could have necessary and immediate life-saving surgery. Zeitner showed the phony papers to an OB-GYN, who performed the procedure. Since Zeitner also used the false documents to enroll in an Arizona health-care program, taxpayers footed the bill for the termination of the pregancy that was not, Agent Rivera noted, “her boyfriend’s child.”
From there, Zeitner convinced her boyfriend to raise $3,000 for a fictitious family member who she said also had cancer. Before the bamboozled boyfriend caught on, Zeitner relocated from Arizona to California and changed her name.
In California, Zeitner befriended the man who oversees the Veterans Hope military charity organization. He was in the process of putting together a motorsports team to raise money. Incredibly, Zeitner convinced this next victim, via more falsified documents, that she was both a decorated armed-forces veteran and a seasoned race-car driver.
Zeitner made an announcement and began soliciting funds for a nonexistent 2012 black-tie gala to benefit Veterans Hope. All moneys were deposited into Zeitner’s personal account, which she used to buy things for herself. In addition, Zeitner stole contributors’ identities and opened up credit accounts. She charged more than $25,000 to the primary victim alone and bilked another Arizona military charity out of an addition $15,000.
Once again, Zeitner disappeared with the cash. Federal agents finally caught up to her in Georgia last year, where she was living under the alias Al Serkez.
In addition to a drunk-driving conviction from this past May, a third jury convicted Zeitner of all these new fraud charges. A judge sentenced her to 28 years total.
Main photo: Chalice Zeitner [Arizona Attorney General’s Office]