A Sweetwater woman investigated by WBIR 10News who received thousands of dollars from a sympathetic community after claiming she had pancreatic cancer faces a felony theft charge, according to Monroe County jail officials.
Ashley Lively was booked into the Monroe County Jail on Wednesday. She posted bond and was freed, according to jail officials.
Authorities say Lively admitted she lied about having cancer. Victims who donated money to her want justice to be found in this case, which they call personal for many reasons.
"I feel like I've moved on I would like to think that I've forgiven her, however I still have that little tinge of anger and I still want to see justice brought," said Brittany Morrow, who originally planned an end of life celebration for Lively.
Morrow, like other members in the community, felt a range of emotions after Lively was charged with felony theft.
She is hoping Lively will learn a hard lesson from her lies.
"If she is actually convicted that's going to stick with her the rest of her life and every choice you make in life has consequences whether they are good or bad and these are consequences for her actions and I hope that they do stick. I don't want to see her do it again later down the road," Morrow said.
Lively's husband, Dalton, spoke Wednesday night by phone with 10News. Ashley Lively declined to comment.
Dalton Lively confirmed the charge is related to her claims of having had cancer.
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"She's tried to apologize to people and she's apologized publicly," Dalton Lively said. "She's tried to lay low because people have been hurtful and cruel."
He said the charge stems from a grand jury review.
Dalton Lively said it was his understanding "there's just that one charge" and that no others are forthcoming.
The Monroe County charge accuses Lively, who is in her early 20s, of felony theft over $1,000.
Jail personnel wouldn’t say Wednesday how much her bond was, if she has a lawyer or if she has a court date.
Channel 10’s investigation this spring showed that Lively, who told some community members in late 2015 and early 2016 that she had only weeks to live, faced no life-threatening illness at all and was only pretending.
People in the community held a chili benefit at a nearby church for her, created a Facebook prayer group, sold T-shirts, conducted private fundraisers, launched a GoFundMe campaign, and even treated Lively to a day at the local salon.
The 10News investigation found that Lively used the money to take trips to the beach and buy a new car.
A family member as well as Brittany Morrow, who held a private event for Lively and 100 of her family and friends at Steekee Elementary School in Loudon, estimated Lively had received at least $10,000 in donations as a result of her claims.
An aunt told 10News earlier this year that Lively finally admitted her cancer claim was false.
Monroe County Detective Mack Williams, who looked into the case, called Lively "a young girl who made a bad mistake." Williams said she had admitted to him her story was made up.
Early in the investigation, Williams suggested other agencies including Loudon County were looking into possible prosecution because some money had been raised for Lively from there.