Woman faked cancer to bilk $400K out of generous retiree

SEATTLE -- An Auburn woman will be heading to prison and paying more than $400,000 in restitution after faking a cancer diagnosis in order to take advantage of a generous retiree.

According to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, 52-year-old Julie Dahlquist convinced an elderly Auburn resident she had been diagnosed with cancer and had no money or insurance to pay for treatment in May 2009.

Over the next three-and-a-half years, Dahlquist collected 190 checks for $400,000 from the victim, claiming they were paying for her cancer treatment. Instead, she used the money to support her gambling addiction.

In addition, she defrauded the government by hiding the ill-gotten money in order to collect $8,000 in Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration and another $8,000 in food and medical benefits from the state.

On Thursday, Dahlquist was sentenced to two years in prison and another three years of supervised release in U.S. District Court. She will also pay $417,382 in restitution.

“This is a truly outrageous fraud that involved exploiting an elderly retiree’s trust and generous intentions,” prosecutors wrote to the court. “Julie Dahlquist recognized that [the victim] was a trusting and generous person, and because of those qualities she chose to prey on him.”

Prosecutors say the victim is devastated that someone he thought he was helping was just using him.