B.C. mother accused of faking cancer to defraud family
Published Sunday, November 21, 2010 5:18PM PST
A B.C. mother is being accused of faking cancer to dupe her husband, in-laws and friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Langford resident Tina Michele Sammons allegedly received about $325,000 to help her pay for pricey private cancer treatments she never received.
Sgt. Steve Irwin of the Saanich Police Department said Sammons, a U.S. citizen, told her husband and in-laws 18 months ago that she was losing her battle with the deadly disease.
"Tina claimed the cancer treatments she was getting here in B.C. weren't curing her and she was going to die," Irwin said. "As a result, she needed experimental drugs that weren't covered."
Her family did everything they could to keep her alive, Irwin said.
"They all love Tina and wanted her to survive, and they paid and paid and paid every time she asked for money because they felt if they did not pay she would die."
Sammons' brother-in-law, who asked not to be named, grew suspicious of Sammons over the summer and hired a private investigator to check up on her claims.
"They soon after reported that she was indeed lying about all of her cancers and illnesses and surgeries and whatnot," he said.
His parents, who contributed roughly $280,000, were devastated. "It's been an extremely trying time," he said. "We'll survive, but it's going to be a hard time."
Irwin said Sammons' parents-in-law are also $100,000 in debt after borrowing extra money to help out.
"They will adjust their lifestyle," Irwin said. "They're elderly, they're retired, they don't work anymore."
Irwin said it's unlikely the family or friends will get their money back. Investigators believe most of it went to gambling and paying for the hotel rooms Sammons stayed in while claiming to be in treatment.
Sammons, who has a five-year-old daughter, was arrested on Wednesday. She was charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000.
She appeared in court Friday and was remanded into custody, where Irwin says she will undergo a forensic psychiatric assessment.
She is due back in court next month.