Woman Sentenced to Community Service in Cancer Fraud Case

Woman Sentenced to Community Service in Cancer Fraud Case

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- In the first of her two sentencings, a West Jordan woman who collected thousands of dollars in donations from people she falsely led to believe that she was dying of cancer has been ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Tania Clark was sentenced Tuesday by 4th District Judge Samuel McVey, who also put her on 18 months of supervised probation and ordered her to pay more than $5,800 in restitution, a $500 fine and complete a moral responsibility class.

"I really should have you serve a couple years, but given your family circumstances, I'm not," McVey said.

Clark told her family and friends that she was dying of myeloma and needed $62,000 for a bone marrow transfusion. She produced a fake letter from a nonexistent doctor explaining her medical condition.

Clark, 33, the wife of a Drug Enforcement Agency agent, also faces sentencing in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, where she pleaded guilty to second-degree felony theft by deception and third-degree felony attempted theft by deception.

Members of the Timpanogos Amateur Hockey Association, which Clark's two sons played in, donated $1,000. Through the "Coins for Caring" program, students at Oakcrest Elementary School raised more than $6,000 for Clark's alleged plight, according to court documents.

Clark's neighbors also gave her more than $5,000. Some offered to donate their own bone marrow to help her.

Clark admitted never having had cancer and admitted deceiving her friends and accepting donated funds.

Suspicion was raised when, after an article about her appeared in the South Valley Journal, Clark's sister e-mailed the newspaper, saying Clark was not trustworthy. The story also prompted others to call the newspaper, stating that she had attempted other scams in the past.

"She (Clark) is sincerely sorry for the effect that she has had on many people," Clark's attorney, Colleen K. Coebergh, said Tuesday. "She is fully aware of that impact."

Coebergh said Clark has been sending out apology e-mails to those affected by her actions.

Coebergh said that Clark has had a hard time finding a job, with four or five employers agreeing to hire but later rescinding their offers.

"But (Clark) just found out last Friday that she has secured employment at the University of Phoenix, and will also be earning a master's degree there," Coebergh said.

Clark's husband, Jeff, is accused of aiding his wife's scheme and also faces theft by deception charges. His attorney -- Coebergh -- said she expects that witness testimony will show that he also was fooled into thinking his wife had cancer.

According to the DEA regional office in Denver, Jeff Clark has been on unpaid administrative leave since July, pending the outcome of the case.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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