Woman Sentenced to Just 1 Year for ‘Mind Boggling’ Cancer Scam

A Michigan woman was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail for scamming her community out of tens of thousands of dollars or more to pay for her cancer treatments. Problem was -- she didn’t have cancer.

Sara Ylen, 38, professed to have developed cervical cancer as the result of a 2001 sexual assault, and claimed to have been regularly treated at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois. She then took advantage of the Michigan-based Mercy Hospice for two years before they figured out that her life wasn’t in peril in 2011.


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Ylen is already serving a five-year sentence for falsely accusing two men of rape, and the “extra” sentence will run simultaneously. She also owes about $122,000 to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for the hospice care. Other people that have donated, like those that attended an event that raised $10,800 at Croswell Wesleyan Church, have not asked to be repaid.

"There was a time when I wanted to hear her say, 'I'm sorry.' I would have given her a big hug," said Sue Nieghorn, who organized the church fundraiser and attended the court hearing. "But I don't have that expectation anymore. She's still saying she's sick. A no-contest plea is not saying, 'I'm guilty.'"

Michigan law does not allow for a harsher conviction in this case, but Sanilac County Circuit Judge Donald Teeple wasn’t shy about expressing his disdain for the swindler. He said, "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 … you took advantage of the goodwill and generosity of people who were more than willing to assist you, all based on lies."

Not even her defense attorney seemed to have much to say in Ylen’s defense. Outside the courtroom, he said, "I don't know what took place. I'm not a doctor … I don't know if you're going to have a heart attack in a minute."

Just … wow.

Do you think Ylen should’ve gotten a harsher sentence?

Image via bloomsberries/Flickr

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