I have no idea how anyone could even think of pulling off a cancer scam. How do you wake up day after day knowing that you have fooled a bunch of people?
That’s the question I have for the Michigan woman who was sentenced to a year behind bars today because of an “almost mind-boggling” scam that tricked an insurance company and made people in small communities believe she was dying of cancer.
Authorities say that no doctor had even suggested that Sara Ylen, 38, had cancer. If that’s not enough, she’s also already serving a minimum five-year prison sentence in another case that involved deceit, and the one year cancer scam sentence will be going on at the same time. Didn’t you learn your lesson after you were sentenced for something else, Ylen?
She claimed that she developed cervical cancer from sexual assault 13 years ago, and was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL. Mercy Hospice in Michigan cut her off in 2011 after two years when tests had showed that her life wasn’t in danger.
Ylen accepted thousands of dollars from supporters who for years had read of her unfortunate situation in the Port Huron Times Herald. She also often forged medical records, including documents that had the letterhead of cancer specialists at the University of Michigan.
Last month, she pleaded no contest to fraud through false statements and false pretenses. “A no-contest plea in Michigan is treated like a regular conviction for the purpose of a sentence.”
“You took advantage of the goodwill and generosity of people who were more than willing to assist you, all based on lies,” Sanilac County Circuit Judge Donald Teeple said.
There was an event at Croswell Wesleyan Church in 2012 that raised $10,800 for her bills, but the church has yet to ask for repayment. It was just a fraction of the money that was given to her by people through the years.
The public first heard about her in 2003 when she was featured in “Sara’s Story,” an award-winning series in the Port Huron newspaper, in which she discussed being raped in broad daylight in the parking lot of a retail store in 2001.