Woman who faked cancer sentenced to 1 year in prison

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Dec. 5, 2005 


A judge sentenced a woman to a year in prison for her second conviction on charges that she bilked money from people by faking she was ill from cancer.

Brookelyn K. Walters, 26, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a felony theft charge. Monroe Circuit Judge Kenneth Todd gave her a three-year sentence Thursday but suspended two years of the term.

Walters was charged in August after her employers -- Mike and Erin Booher of Rising Star Gymnastics -- discovered she had lied about being diagnosed with leukemia, a tale that prompted them to allow her to move into their home.

Authorities said to persuade people of her illness, Walters shaved her head, took various medications and often visited the hospital.

She was convicted last year in Delaware County of a similar scam while she was a Ball State University student. Prosecutors there said she shaved her head and pretended to be deaf for three years, leading the school to provide her with an interpreter and a sorority and fraternity to give her $1,000 raised at a benefit hog roast.

The Boohers said they were angry that prosecutors allowed Walters to plead guilty but mentally ill.

"Everything she did was calculated, elaborate, planned -- not something a mentally ill person's capable of," Erin Booher said.

Walters said she was sorry for the scam and that she has been faking serious illnesses since her father committed suicide when she was a child.

"I started saying I had diabetes and actually injecting myself with insulin and it's continued," she said. "It started when I was 14; all through high school and into college I've been saying that I have cancer, and I, in fact, don't have cancer."


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