Auburn woman sentenced for fraud, claimed cancer diagnosis to steal more than $400,000 from elderly victim

For the Reporter

A 52-year-old Auburn woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for a fraud scheme in which she claimed to be a cancer patient, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

Between May 2009 and September 2012, Julie Anne Dahlquist convinced an elderly Auburn resident to support her financially by claiming the money he gave her would pay for her cancer treatment. In fact, Dahlquist had no cancer diagnosis and used more than $400,000 to support her gambling addiction, according to case records.

Dahlquist pleaded guilty Nov. 15, 2013, to Social Security fraud. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez ordered her to pay $417,382 in restitution and said the crime was "no less than elder abuse – taking advantage of the victim's good nature to steal his money."

According to records filed in the case, Dahlquist told the elderly victim that she had been diagnosed with cancer and had no medical insurance or any money for treatment. The victim, concerned for Dahlquist's welfare, wrote her checks to pay for the non-existent treatment. The victim wrote checks for as much as $9,000 about three times a month. In all, the victim wrote 190 checks to Dahlquist for more than $400,000.

Dahlquist used the money for gambling and other expenses. She also defrauded the Social Security Administration disability program.

Dahlquist concealed the $400,000 in proceeds from her fraud scheme so that she could collect $8,000 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration. Dahlquist also fraudulently collected more than $8,000 in food and medical benefits from the State of Washington.

Writing to the court prosecutors noted that: "This is a truly outrageous fraud that involved exploiting an elderly retiree's trust and generous intentions. Julie Dahlquist recognized that (the victim) was a trusting and generous person, and because of those qualities she chose to prey on him. Furthermore, defendant invoked the serious disease of cancer as part of her fraud. The psychological harm to the victim is acute: his family reports that he is "devastated to think that someone he was trying to help would take such extreme advantage of him."

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson as part of a partnership venture between the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel and the United States Attorney's Office.

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