Woman gets prison time for lying about having cancer

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An Illinois woman lied about having cancer and also fabricated a story that her son had leukemia. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a 30-month probation period following her release.

In addition to her prison sentence, Melissa Barton, 28, of Belleville was ordered to pay $1,290 in restitution for using the stories to steal money from fundraisers.

Authorities characterized her actions as “vile” and “hurtful,” considering that people actually experience these “legitimate sufferings.”

During May of 2014, Barton is alleged to have fraudulently obtained more than $1,000 from a church and other donors. She later pled guilty to two counts of theft by deception in December.

An officer testified that Barton, in online videos seeking donations, wore a cap in an attempt to hide her hair and appear in the throes of chemotherapy treatment. But, the officer noticed a lock of hair protruding from the hat.

The officer testified he realized it was a ploy after a man established a fundraising page for Barton’s son, whom she falsely claimed suffered from an acute form of leukemia.

It was later discovered that Barton had a biopsy that indicated a benign tumor. Medical records also showed that her son was cancer-free.

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