03/21/2014 at 02:00 PM EDT
A 6-year-old Colorado boy believed he had cancer. He was told he was going to die. Turns out, it was all part of an elaborate scam, according to police.
Sandy Nguyen, 28, allegedly convinced her son, family members and neighbors in Aurora, Colo., that her little boy had cancer since September 2012, CBS Denver
reports. Through fundraisers and walks, she allegedly collected more than $25,000, according to an arrest affidavit.
According to investigators, Nguyen's son "believes he has cancer and is going to die" and also believes "he gets chemotherapy at night when he's sleeping." He also revealed, investigators said, that "his mom shaves his head every morning before school" and "he never gets sick from the chemo."
The boy's elementary school principal told investigators they had 100 percent participation from more than 600 students in efforts to raise money to help pay for what they believed were important cancer treatments for the boy. A report from the local station says some of the children gave up their allowances and asked grandparents to donate to the cause.
But the story began to unravel when a doctor, who was getting her hair cut by Nguyen, noticed the description of chemotherapy treatments didn't sound right, according to the affidavit.
The doctor learned the child was being treated for asthma and not cancer. She filed a report and law enforcement began investigating on March 7.
Nguyen was charged with theft, charitable fraud and child abuse.