On Wednesday, a 38-year-old Michigan woman was sentenced to one year in prison for money fraud against a healthcare insurance company and generous local supporters.
Sara Ylen of Lexington, Mich., accepted thousands of dollars in donations for years by publicizing false claims of cervical cancer.
According to NY Daily News, her story first reached local media coverage in 2003 when she submitted a series of accounts called “Sara's Story” to The Times Herald.
Ylen created a false story detailing how she developed the ailment in 2001 after alleged attacker, James Grissom, raped her in the parking lot of a retail store. She also claimed that she was cared for by Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Ill.
For many years, Ylen forged the names of specialists on her medical records in order to receive care. Additionally, a nurse from Michigan Mercy Hospice treated her for two years. The "great pretender" received $100,000 in donations to fund her hospice care.
Ylen even played the part. According to witnesses, she wore a scarf on her head and used a wheelchair.
It was not until 2011 that the facility terminated her treatment. The hospice said that they couldn't find her name in the system or evidence of cervical cancer.
Oddly enough, her story received immense support even without the confirmation of a doctor's diagnosis.
One of her many victims included Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Ylen owes the insurance company $122,000. Croswell Wesleyan Church and employees at Sandusky State Police Department were among others that donated money to support Ylen's phony medical expenses.
“All of these fraudulent acts that you perpetrated on so many people, and the extent that you went to perpetrate them, is almost mind-boggling,” Sanilac County Circuit Judge Donald Teeple said on Wednesday, according to NY Daily News. “You took advantage of the goodwill and generosity of people who were more than willing to assist you, all based on lies.”
In a separate sentencing by a St. Clair County Judge, Ylen will serve additional five years in prison for falsely accusing Grissom and another man of rape.
Fortunately, Grissom was released in 2012 after a judge decided to throw out his 15-year sentence. He had already served nearly 10 years in prison.
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