Architect of Alleged Cancer Scheme Charged with Theft

Year-long investigation determined that Amy Elizabeth Glanville, of Kalispell, solicited more than $60,000 in fraudulent donations

By Maggie Dresser
Amy Glanville sits between Easthaven Baptist Church Pastor Daniel Lambert and his wife Vicki Lambert in an image posted to social media on April 19, 2019.

A Kalispell woman who allegedly solicited at least $60,000 in fraudulent contributions under the pretense that she was dying of cancer — spinning an elaborate web of deception whose victims included friends, family members and local faith leaders — has been formally charged with felony theft in Flathead County District Court.

The criminal charge against Amy Elizabeth Glanville, 46, comes after a year-long investigation by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. Glanville was booked in the Flathead County Detention Center on Dec. 14 and was released the same day on her own recognizance pending an arraignment hearing next month.

Charging documents allege that as part of an elaborate scheme spanning a five-year period between 2015 and 2020 Glanville convinced a wide swath of her community that she had thyroid cancer, leading to the establishment of several fundraisers organized through the Easthaven Baptist Church in Kalispell. Glanville collected the money using online portals such as GoFundMe and PayPal, records state, as well as through a local charitable event at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The investigation uncovered evidence of approximately $60,000 in donations to Glanville’s fake charitable cause, according to Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino, who estimated the total contributions likely amounted to more than $100,000. The precise monetary amount was difficult for investigators to gauge, Heino said, because some victims chose not to pursue criminal charges, while other more intangible services, such as cross-country road trips to doctor’s appointments and hotel bookings, were difficult to document or quantify.

“There was so much over this period of time,” Heino said. “That’s why there was a little bit of delay in gathering all of the information. It was very daunting when you start to look at everything here and in other parts of the country and tracing all of those victims.”

Suspicions over Glanville’s supposed illness were seeded in January 2020 when Easthaven Baptist Church Pastor Daniel Lambert posted on Facebook that an “obvious healing miracle” had occurred and Glanville’s pacemaker, which she received while awaiting a life-saving heart transplant, was vanished by God. It was that news, delivered on Jan. 6, that prompted skeptical witnesses to contact law enforcement.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation and Detective Commander Josh Buls began piecing together a narrative. The investigator learned that Glanville first reported having thyroid cancer in 2016 and told friends and family she was seeking treatment from University of Washington Medical Center, prompting the formation of several fundraisers. Glanville continued to claim she was ill until the end of 2020, when Lambert finally confronted her about his growing suspicions, at which point Glanville admitted the story was false. Records also state that Lambert confirmed his own doubts about Glanville’s illness in October 2020, when she told the pastor a home health nurse was treating her; when Lambert staked out the woman’s neighborhood, however, nobody showed up to the appointment.

Following that incident, Lambert contacted Glanville’s supposed medical providers and learned she was not a patient with any of them.

Court records go on to describe a duplicitous scheme that included lying to friends and family members, some of whom drove Glanville to medical appointments across the country, only to later learn the woman hadn’t received any medical treatment at all, but merely sat inside the hospital lobby in order to maintain the subterfuge.

To prop up her story, Glanville allegedly used multiple phones to contact Lambert and other supporters, providing them with phony updates on her cancer treatment. Lambert and his wife, Vicky, became so close with Glanville during her fraudulent cancer journey that they were awarded co-guardianship of the woman’s children, documents state.

Paul Ernst, a cousin of Glanville’s who organized a GoFundMe page for the woman in January 2016, raising more than $24,000 from 251 donations, finally went public with the scheme in November 2020. According to a post on that GoFundMe page, Ernst wrote a “very disturbing update” announcing that Glanville lied about her cancer diagnosis.

“She has never had cancer, never been treated for cancer, and has never seen a doctor for cancer in the past five years,” the post states. The GoFundMe page is disabled but still exists. After failed attempts to recover funds, GoFundMe officials stated the fundraiser was not covered under its guarantee.

On Nov. 22, 2020, Lambert addressed his Easthaven Baptist Church congregation about Glanville’s fraud.

“None of us could have ever imagined that everything was being made up,” Lambert said at the time. “We trusted, we gave, we tried to obey the Lord, and now that it’s over, I am really struggling not to feel like an absolute fool.”

Heino said the investigation did not indicate that anyone else was involved in Glanville’s scheme.   Glanville faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in the Montana State Prison, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both. She is scheduled to appear at an arraignment hearing before Judge Heidi J. Ulbricht on Jan. 6, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.

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