Chandler man arrested on fraud charges for faking terminal illness

Aug 31, 2020, 1:00 PM
(Scottsdale Police Department Photo)...
(Scottsdale Police Department Photo)
(Scottsdale Police Department Photo)

PHOENIX – Scottsdale police said Monday a man who is already facing fraud charges is now accused of faking another terminal illness to solicit funds.

Christopher Wade Nelson, 49, of Chandler, was taken into custody in late July, police announced Monday.

Authorities said they spent seven months investigating Nelson and arrested him on felony counts of fraud, aggravated identity theft and forgery.

The criminal activity covered May 2018 to May 2020 but previously he also was accused in 2017 of defrauding former Scottsdale Coronado High School friends by claiming to have cancer.

Police said in an email that Nelson claimed to have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and then accepted goods and services from donors.

He went on social media to drum up thousands of dollars in support for a fundraiser reportedly so he could buy a speech-assistance device, was loaned a motorized wheelchair, asked a business owner to fix his truck for free and tried to avoid court appearances citing his illness.

At a February hearing, Nelson went to the courtroom in a motorized wheelchair and a lawyer said his client could only communicate through blinking his eyes.

Subsequent video surveillance of Nelson, police said, showed him doing yard work, driving and washing a car and dancing.

The department said if anyone believes Nelson defrauded them call the financial crimes unit at 480-312-8141.

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Chandler man arrested on fraud charges for faking terminal illness