Woman accused of faking cancer and scamming man out of $40K

BEDFORD COUNTY, PA (KTRK) -- A Pennsylvania man said he was scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars by the woman he loved. He said his fiance pretended to be dying of cancer.

Michelle Zipp, 31, is accused of scamming the man she was supposed to marry, out of $40,000 over the course of four months.

"This is sometimes what happens when good people who want to help others fall victim to bad people who want to steal from others," Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins told WJAC.

Higgins said Zipp is charged with theft by deception.

According to police, she told the victim that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and that she didn't have the money for the necessary surgeries.

"She basically exploited a romantic relationship with him to the point that they were engaged, or she said they were engaged to be married," Higgins said.

Authorities said the victim secured loans and made payments, mostly cash, to Zipp to help pay for surgeries she claimed she needed. More than $6,000 was transferred via money transfer and MoneyGram at a Walmart.

"Building on this lie that she was dying of cancer. Said she was being treated at a hospital that she was never a patient of. It was really just a total lie," Higgins said.

A lie that included deceiving her fiance into believing that he was communicating with her nurses via text from her cellphone.

"I guess he's a very good-natured person. Wanted to help somebody. Thought he was in love. Thought she was in love with him, and invested an awful lot of money into a ficticious story," Higgins said.

He said he sees a lot of scams in different forms.

"Be careful who you're trusting. Be careful who you're giving money to. Real friends, or people who really care about you aren't using their relationship for their financial gains," Higgins said.
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