Woman who faked cancer gets jail time, not prison

9:42 PM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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Judge Jane Tidball said Thursday morning that Crall's case was a difficult one to decide. She decided to not sentence her prison, but 90 days in jail. Crall will also undergo 10 years of intensive supervised probation. She is to remain in substance-abuse treatment as well.

Before the judge's decision came down, Lakewood Police Department Chief Kevin Paletta spoke to the court. He asked them to put her in prison.

"True cancer patients are victims in this case," Paletta said.

After this case, Paletta claims others may hesitate to help people who actually need help.

"As police officers we see some very difficult sides of life and most of the time we are not the victims of those crimes, and in this situation our organization was a victim of the crime and we feel many of the same feelings that victims feel. We felt hurt. We felt betrayed. We felt angry. We wanted some sort of consequences for her actions. It was a situation where we as police officers were actually victims and not first responders," Paletta said.

Rob Buchan, a member of the Lakewood Police Foundation, says he is "embarrassed" to have helped her. His grandfather died of cancer, and his grandmother wrote Crall a check.

"It was a pattern of taking advantage of people," Buchan said.

Patricia Strawser, Crall's sponsor, says Crall has an addiction and pleaded for a lighter sentence.

"She's a good person with a bad disease," Strawser said. "Give her a chance."

Crall's husband, Richard, cried while begging the court to keep her out of prison.

"I understand there are consequences for her actions," Richard Crall said. "My kids need her at home."

Ann Crall told the court on Thursday she had issues back then she has now dealt with.

"[I] never set out to manipulate all the hearts and people that I hurt," Crall cried while on the stand. "That's not who I am. That's who I was. I'm so, so sorry. I cannot repay the trust to those I hurt."

Crall claims she wants to become a certified addictions counselor.

She told people she was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and was starting treatment, but there was no evidence to support that she ever had cancer.

Crall took charitable contributions for cancer treatments from January 2006 to December 2008, according to the First Judicial District Attorney. Donations of money and food came from her friends, neighbors, church members and several of her husband's co-workers from the Lakewood Police Department.

"I see many, many cases with similar defendants," Tidball said. "They usually don't steal from that many people. The acts of the defendant were very significant. The fact that Lakewood Police Department members went two extraordinary lengths to support her. There is a big wake of destruction."

J.J. Beattie was one of the people who helped raise money for Crall and felt she deserved the maximum sentence of 15 years.

"What she did, faking cancer and making a mockery of 28 million of us living with this disease, is horrible. That's not repayable," Beattie said. "I'm not interested in her restitution. I'm interested in her taking responsibility, which I didn't hear her do."

Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney Pete Weir says the sentence still sends a message.

"[It sends] a message to the community that charitable fraud, this kind of deception, this kind of betrayal, is going to be taken seriously," Weir said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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