Police charge woman in cancer scam

Thursday, August 17, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:40 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

A woman Columbia Police say pretended to be dying of stomach cancer as a ruse for collecting money turned herself in Thursday morning.

Sarah Shipton Herman, 26, of Columbia, was charged with stealing by deceit, a felony.

According to the probable cause statement, in May 2005, Herman, then 24, said that she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and had less than a year to live. Friends held fundraisers to help with Herman’s treatment, raising at least $1,800.

One of those fundraisers was a benefit concert held last May at the Blue Note in downtown Columbia, which featured local bands including Confident Years and Say Goodbye, according to the local music Web site

As detailed in the probable cause statement, friends eventually became suspicious of Herman’s condition and requested proof of her illness, which she did not provide. Eventually, they notified authorities, and Herman later confessed to police that she didn’t have cancer. She issued a written statement indicating that she suffered from a stomach ulcer, according to the probable cause statement.

A warrant was issued for her arrest on Aug. 3.

Columbia Police planned to issue a news release Thursday afternoon.

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