A Wallingford, Connecticut man is accused of pretending to have terminal brain cancer, then accepting more than $20,000 donated at benefits held in his honor.
Wallingford police pulled Tyler William Tomer, 29, of Wallingford, over in May for a suspected DUI and he told police his "body was full of cancer," according to Wallingford Police Lt. Cheryl Bradley.
Sometime after the incident, a family member told police that Tomer didn't have cancer, according to investigators, who said Tomer apparently shaved his head and took weight loss pills to mislead friends.
People who believed Tomer was sick came together to help him and fundraisers were held in Connecticut, as well as Kansas, In all, Tomer collected at least $22,680.80, police said.
Sheehan High School, where Tomer was a standout athlete, raised $6,000, a GoFundMe account raised $6,835 and a charity golf tournament at Lyman Orchard raised more than $10,000, according to Wallingford police.
When police looked through bank statements and medical records, they determined Tomer was never diagnosed with cancer, Bradley said.
"We did a lot of search warrants for bank accounts, medical records, and it came down to the fact that he was never diagnosed with cancer. And in the end, he admitted to that," Bradley said. "It's horrific. It affects a lot of people — people who are fighting cancer."
When police asked why he did it, Tomer allegedly told them he owed money and the situation had gotten out of control, Wallingford police said.
Tomer was charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community.
He appeared in court on Thursday, where bond was reduced to $25,000. He is due back in court on March 3.
Information on an attorney for Tomer was not immediately available.