Missouri courthouse clerk accused of faking cancer

Mo. courthouse clerk accused of faking cancer JEFF LEHR,Joplin Globe

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PINEVILLE, Mo. | Tammy R. Young let her co-workers in the McDonald County Courthouse know this past winter that she was stricken with cancer.

She told them that she was diagnosed in February with Ewing's sarcoma, a malignant form of tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue.

She let it be known that she was undergoing treatment for the illness through Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Okla., and at St. John's Regional Medical Center and Freeman Hospital West, both in Joplin.

Sympathy naturally arose for the 42-year-old clerk in the county prosecutor's office. Co-workers tried to help her financially with some fundraisers.

Young accepted the help and sent out letters of solicitation for funds and for items to be donated to a silent auction on her behalf. Young even designed T-shirts that she and co-workers wore at fundraising events.

Then, this summer, suspicions began to dawn among co-workers that perhaps Young's claims were less than truthful, according to McDonald County Sheriff Robert Evenson.

Those suspicions led to Young's dismissal from her job in July, her appeal of the firing to the McDonald County Commission on Aug. 4 and an ensuing investigation by the Sheriff's Department, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed Friday in McDonald County Circuit Court.

"It turns out that it doesn't look like she has cancer," the sheriff said. "So it was all just a scam."

Evenson said Young arranged to turn herself in Friday on two felony counts of stealing filed by a special prosecutor. The rural Goodman woman posted a $10,000 property bond and was released.

The sheriff said the investigation showed that Young received about $10,000 worth of assistance from the fundraisers. There had been a poker run, a potato bar and other efforts to benefit her, he said.

"There is no evidence that any of it was spent on cancer treatment," Evenson said.