TEXAS -- Some students in Texas raised thousands of dollars for a teacher's aide who they thought was battling cancer. It turns out he faked the whole thing to conceal federal charges.
Kevin Mabone was a popular teacher's aide and basketball coach. He thanked students and staff at a Texas middle school last Friday for raising thousands of dollars and even donating a car to help him fight cancer.
"When people love you like this it's just overwhelming," he said.
He has some explaining to do now, but the community is still waiting.
"We're heartbroken," said Principal Leslie Feinglas. "We're embarrassed."
Mabone first told school officials he had prostate cancer in December. This week he claimed he had been cured.
"We didn't have to search longer than five seconds to find something," said Feinglas.
A quick Google search revealed that Mabone pleaded guilty to federal charges of misappropriating taxpayer money in October.
ABC News was told he eventually admitted to the school's principal that he lied and drove the donated car to West Virginia to be sentenced for that crime.
"To know he did this to the staff, he did this to the students, he took money from our students," Feinglas told ABC News. "How can someone do that?"
The school district is also investigating how Mabone passed a federal background check when he was hired in August.
"You go through the sadness, and anger comes in...betrayal," said one teacher at the school.
"It just broke my heart," said a student. I didn't know he was going to sit there and do us like that."
Local police say they are now looking into this to see if any criminal charges are warranted. The school is hoping the money and the car will be returned in the meantime.
Texas teacher's aide accused of faking cancer to hide criminal past