Chalice Renee Zeitner faced trial yesterday on charges that she forged medical documents in order to obtain a late-term, taxpayer supported abortion while claiming to be suffering from cancer. Attorney Adam Schwartz told the court that his client “genuinely thought she had cancer” at the time of the abortion in 2010. She is also facing charges which include fraudulent schemes, identity theft, theft and forgery.
In addition to the above charges, Zeitner is facing fraud charges in which she is accused of opening a credit card in the name of a founder of a veterans’ charity.
Prosecutors in Phoenix AZ provided a different explanation. They said that Zeitner forged medical documents to convince her physician that an abortion during the second trimester of her baby’s gestation was medically necessary and qualified for state Medicaid (which is called Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System - AHCCCS). In their opening statements to Maricopa County Superior Court, prosecutors refuted the defense's repeated assertions and laid out a timeline of “false statements and misrepresentations” that Zeitner devised that led to her April 2010 abortion.
Alleged perpetrator Zeitner claimed she had stage IV sarcoma – an aggressive form of cancer – and that she was to go to Massachusetts to have tumors removed from her abdomen and lower spine area. Zeitner also claimed that her life was endangered should she not undergo the pregnancy termination.
Prosecturs later found that the physician in Massachusetts had never treated Zeitner nor had ever met her.
The State of Arizona paid $6,346.48 for the abortion.
Zeitner’s doctor in Arizona, who had performed the abortion, later became suspicious when in 2011 he delivered another baby by caesarean section, but saw no signs of cancer nor of the procedures that Zeitner claimed to have had. The physician subsequently filed a report on the case with AHCCCS.
The prosecution, in its opening statements in Maricopa County Superior Court, refuted the defense's assertions and laid out a lengthy timeline of “false statements and misrepresentations” Zeitner devised that led to her April 2010 abortion.
Zeitner was voluntarily absent from the court yesterday. Attorney Schwartz displayed a photograph of the “young” and “beautiful” Zeitner while urging jurors to be critical of witnesses and “hold them to the burden of proof.”
In August 2015, Zeitner was indicted by a grand jury in connection to a series of allegedly fraudulent transactions involving veterans’ charities. She will face trial in that case, too.
Prosecutors say Zeitner charged as much as $25,000 on a credit card she opened using the identity of the founder of Veterans Hope and embezzled $10,000 from the nonprofit Veteran Tickets Foundation, which provides free and discounted tickets to veterans for sporting events, performances, and family activities. According to prosecutors, Zeitner also received $10,000 intended to sponsor a gala in Washington DC. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering and identity theft, inter alia. A trial is scheduled for May 25 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
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