Police investigate possible cancer benefit scam
The Merrill Police Department is investigating a case involving a 19-year-old Merrill woman who is purporting to have cancer. Police have received information that she, family members and/or friends have set up donation jars for her cause at area businesses in Merrill and Wausau. Police have reason to believe she does not, in fact, have cancer.
The Marathon County District Attorney’s office filed criminal charges against her March 6 stemming from an incident involving a donation jar set up at a Wausau area restaurant.
Merrill Police sent out a notification to Merrill businesses March 7 notifying area businesses of the probable scam and to ask that any businesses who currently have or have previously had any of these donation jars to contact the Merrill Police Department.
On March 12, an employee of a Merrill business came to the police department to report her business had made arrangements to host a benefit pancake breakfast for the woman. She said she had just spoken to the woman’s father to finalize the arrangements and the father became upset the event was not held sooner and wished to cancel the benefit.
Another employee had read in the previous week’s newspaper of a scam in Wausau and Merrill in which the woman and her father were found to be collecting money, however the woman did not in fact have cancer. The business was out a small amount of money printing flyers, stamps and a newspaper ad for the event.
The officer spoke with the daughter and father. The daughter admitted she has not been diagnosed with cancer. The daughter was arrested for a probation violation. Additional charges are forthcoming pending further investigation.