Mom Arrested On Her Way to 'Dr. Phil' For 'Faking Cancer'

An Illinois mom who police say has been pretending that she and her son have cancer so that she can scam people out of money was arrested as she was reportedly boarding a plane to appear on the Dr. Phil show.

Melissa D. Barton, 25, was nabbed at an airport in Springfield eight days after she was arrested on a felony charge of theft by deception. Police say she used two different names and took photos of herself in bed looking unwell so that she could coax strangers into making donations to her via various social media sites. She also reportedly stole money from people at her local church. And the worst part of this, assuming the accusations are true: she reportedly used her children to garner even more sympathy for her "cause."


Barton, who also reportedly went by the names "Melissa Dawn Pruett Barton" and "Missy Barton Pruett," used and to accept donations made by generous people who assumed she was telling the truth about her and her son suffering from leukemia. She was charged for deceiving people on August 5 and was jailed on $50,000 bail, which she was able to pay, according to police.

Despite the fact that Barton was on her way to Chicago, where it is believed she was scheduled to appear on a segment of the Dr. Phil show, police say they don't think she was trying to flee the area. She was arrested a second time after police reportedly discovered she had scammed even more people. She is currently in jail on a $100,000 bail.

Barton, who alleges that the claims against her are untrue, is actually the second woman in the area to be charged with faking cancer. Earlier this year, a woman named Alissa Jackson also reportedly pretended to be sick and even accepted donations from an event held in her honor at a local Pizza Hut.

More from The Stir: Mom Fakes Son's Cancer & Uses Charity Money to Go to Disneyland

It's understandable that some people feel so desperate to pay for their expenses that they'll consider doing low things. But it's difficult to feel for anyone who uses cancer as a way to get caring people to open their wallets -- and there's absolutely no excuse for a mom who would even think of making believe her child has a fatal disease.

Do you feel empathy for this mom?


Image via Madison County Police

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