In New Hampshire, Dan Villemaire, president of C&M Machine Co., was quite sympathetic with the plight of his employee Scott Wellington, 31, during the long illness and death of his wife. That sympathy remained strong all the way up to Villemaire being contacted by Wellington’s wife.
Wellington received thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits during his wife’s long bout with cancer. Villemaire is himself a cancer survivor and was highly supportive of the father of four after Wellington keep the office informed of first his wife finding a lump and then her struggle leading to a double mastectomy. He then came in to say she died. The company gave him $7000 as well as time off. Wellington also raked in cash and gifts from others
It came to a crashing end when Wellington’s wife opened a sympathy card for her own death. He has been charged with two counts of theft by deception. That could bring up to 15 years in prison with no sympathy.
The case is a good example of a typical fraud case like those involving “stolen valor” and why there is no need for a special law to criminalize those who lie about service in the military. Whether it is a claim of heroic service or a dying wife, it remains garden variety fraud to accept gifts and payments under false pretenses.
This is the type of case you want to plead out unless both the employer and wife are making all of this up. I would not like to make the case to a jury on why it really is not fraud to pretend your wife is writhing in pain from breast cancer and then died. Knowing that, of course, the prosecutor is likely to insist on a pretty heavy sentence. Yet, his former colleagues may find it hard to feel a great deal of sympathy . . . again.
Source: Union Leader