LITTLE ROCK, Ar. (KTVE/KARD) — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she is filing a lawsuit against Kristy and Erik Schneider, an Arkansas couple that wrongfully misrepresented that their child was deathly ill.
As a result of the Schneider’s falsified health condition report, they received over $31,000 in charitable donations and assistance from Arkansas consumers, organizations, and law enforcement agencies.
The announcement claims that the Schneider’s not only lied to medical providers, but also to the general public in order to receive an outpouring of well wishes and donations. These actions are a violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA).
In February 2019, Kristy Schneider began posting updates to CaringBridge.org about the health of her ill child. She claimed that the child had a rare chromosomal disorder and was dependent on feeding tubes and about 15 different medications to keep the child alive.
She also told her followers that the child was seen by a number of specialists including neurosurgeons, neurologists, geneticists, complex care physicians, and more. She stated, “After seeing multiple specialists, trying everything possible, and consulting with doctors in multiple other states/facilities, it was determined that the recommended course of action was to come home on hospice care.”
The Schneiders decided the child’s feeding tubes would be withdrawn to cause a “natural death.” With this announcement, their story had a following in the public eye from law enforcement, concerned citizens, local news reporters and others.
When the child returned to Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, he was accompanied by hundreds of law enforcement officers and first responders to fulfill his final wish to see as many first responders as possible before his death.
This event was widely publicized and involved resources paid for by taxpayers in the form of hundreds of law enforcement officers from central Arkansas.
After the child arrived at Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, the minor made an unexpected recovery. Doctors removed the feeding tube and gave the child nutrition, including liquids and popsicles, for a week and a half.
Doctors reported the patient appeared to look better than he had in months. Despite the positive development, the Schneiders forced doctors to put the child back on a feeding tube.
Even the Mayo Clinic later refused to grant Kristy’s request to return the child to hospice care. There, and at Arkansas Children’s, Kristy continued to exaggerate the child’s symptoms. Soon thereafter, doctors reported the child was a victim of Munchausen by Proxy.
As the child seemed to be battling for his life and doctors around the country struggled to understand the nature of his medical condition, the kindness of people and law enforcement across Arkansas and the world was on full display; thousands of dollars in donations and resources poured in from throughout the United States and even foreign countries.
Between gifts, meals, cash contributions, and medical transportation, the Schneiders received $31,895 in donations from consumers driven by nothing more than goodwill and kindness. In Arkansas, each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov.