An Ohio woman is accused of faking cancer to raise $21,000 in donations. Mindy Taylor, age 35, claimed she was suffering with cancer of the small intestine and liver. She further claimed that she had multiple strokes, heart disease, and lupus. Although Taylor was diagnosed with lupus as a child, an investigation revealed that she never had cancer.
On February 24, Taylor’s story was featured on the front page of the Chillicothe Gazette. Authorities said the article prompted a call from an anonymous source. The caller claimed the Ohio woman faked the cancer to make money.
The tip persuaded authorities to investigate Taylor’s medical history. The records, which were subpoenaed, revealed that the woman was never diagnosed with cancer. As reported by Columbus Dispatch, Taylor was subsequently arrested and charged with felony theft and fraud.
Following her arrest, Taylor apologized and said she truly believed she had cancer. However, authorities believe the woman intentionally scammed her family, friends, and the community.
Mindy Taylor shared her story through numerous social media and charity donation websites. On January 31, she revealed her “illness” through the CaringBridge.org:
“I have been diagnosed for awhile now but today is the day that it really became public. I am torn about that. On one hand I know I need the prayers and support on the other I really hope that people respect my privacy when it comes to Addie. She doesn’t know what is going on and at the age of 7 I don’t think she needs to be burdened with Mama’s illness.”
Meanwhile, Taylor’s mother solicited donations through YouCaring.com.
“In the midst of the 2013 Christmas season, the doctors told Mindy that she has cancer of the small intestine (in her case adenocarcinoma) which affects fewer than 9,000 people per year in the US. She is undergoing chemotherapy to target a mass in her small intestine and multiple masses in the liver which cause constant pain, digestive difficulties, and weight loss.”
Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt said Taylor’s family and friends, including her husband and mother, were unaware of the scam. Huffington Post reports that the Ohio woman managed to convince everyone that she was suffering with the fatal disease.
Attorney Jeff Benson, who represents Taylor, said his client returned a large portion of the donations. Prosecutor Schmidt said “he has seen no evidence to support that.” Schmidt said it is unclear how the money was spent. However, bank records reveal Taylor recently purchased new furniture and at least one cosmetic procedure.
Mindy Taylor said she hopes to “take the easy way out” and avoid a trial. She contends that she was not faking cancer, she was simply confused.
[Images via Facebook and Chillicothe Gazette]