Ohio Woman Accused of Cancer Scam Arrested

May 1, 2009

The U.S. Marshals Service in Utah has arrested an Ohio woman accused of stealing $800,000 from friends and family by claiming her husband had cancer.

The agency says 29-year-old Melanie Chen was taken into custody Wednesday at a Salt Lake City hotel. Chen had been on the run for seven weeks after she failed to show up for an arraignment.

Prosecutors in Delaware County in Ohio say Chen convinced about a dozen family members and friends that she needed thousands of dollars to pay for her husband’s medical expenses. Relatives contacted authorities after they grew suspicious and the couple were unable to produce documentation of Phylip Chen’s medical treatment.

Phylip Chen of Columbus has pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

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