Woman gets prison for lying about cancer, son’s leukemia

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An Illinois woman was sentenced to 18 months for lying about having cancer and even making up a story that her son had leukemia.

Melissa Barton, 28, of Belleville, was also sentenced to a 30-month probation period following her release and ordered to pay $1,290 in restitution for using the stories to steal money from fundraisers, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Circuit Judge Kyle Napp called Barton’s actions “vile” and Assistant State’s Attorney Katie Warren said her actions hurt fundraising efforts for people “experiencing legitimate suffering,” The Alton Telegraph reports.

Barton allegedly stole more than $500 from a church and more than $500 from other donors during May 2014. She later pleaded guilty to two counts of theft by deception in December.

A former police officer in Troy testified that Barton wore a cap in online video seeking donations in an apparent attempt to hide her hair and her bogus chemotherapy treatment. But the officer noticed a lock of hair protruding from the hat.

The cop testified he discovered the ruse after a man established a fundraising page for Barton’s son, whom she falsely claimed suffered from an acute form of leukemia.

The officer said police in Troy later discovered that Barton had a biopsy that indicated a benign tumor. Medical records also showed that her son was cancer-free, according to the newspaper.