June 3, 2014

Police: Belleville woman claimed she had cancer to get cash

Fraud charges are expected Wednesday against a Belleville woman who police said fraudulently claimed to have terminal cancer and then accepted money from fundraisers to help pay non-existent medical bills and to support her family.

"The community rallied around this woman, holding several fundraisers to support her and her family," Belleville Police Department Detective Sgt. Mark Heffernan said. "Belleville police continue their criminal investigation and have presented some preliminary information to the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office."

The woman is not being named because she has not been charged.

Heffernan said the suspect was in custody and being interviewed by detectives Tuesday. He said he expects the warrant review process to be completed within 24 hours.

Police were approached a month ago by people who helped organize fundraisers for cancer victims, including for the supposedly terminally ill woman, according to Heffernan.

"The citizens that came forward became concerned when the woman was caught in several lies," Heffernan said. "As a result of the investigation, it has been determined that the woman who claimed to have cancer did not have cancer."

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