Ohio cancer scam woman on the run arrested in Utah

By Calvin Palmer

An Ohio mother-of-six accused of stealing $800,000 from friends and family by claiming her husband had cancer was arrested yesterday.

Delaware County sheriff’s office said 29-year-old Melanie Chen, of Columbus, was arrested at a Salt Lake City hotel after being on the run for seven weeks.

Chen failed to turn up for an arraignment hearing in March. Federal and local officers tracked her to Florida and then Utah.

Delaware County prosecutors allege that Chen and her husband, Phylip Chen, 38, tricked their family and friends into believing that Phylip had cancer and then collected more than $800,000 for “medical bills”.

Relatives contacted authorities after they grew suspicious and the couple were unable to produce documentation of Phylip Chen’s medical treatment.

The Chens have been indicted on one count each of theft and receiving stolen property. The indictments list 14 donors who live in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and California.

Phylip Chen has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He has called his wife a pathological liar.

The couple are Taiwanese, unemployed and have six children. If convicted they could face up to 10 years in prison.

[Based on reports by The Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News.]

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2 responses to “Ohio cancer scam woman on the run arrested in Utah

  1. I am friends with one of Melanie Chen’s daughters, Bailey Chen. She didn’t tell anyone besides our teacher that she was moving until the day before be cause Melanie Chen.(her mother) I have been trying to find out her phone number but I didn’t find anything besides her NEW address because I miss Bailey. I gave her my cell phone number, she left a message asking to talk to me, Friday May 1, 2009. Sadly me and my family were in The YMCA and my mom left her phone when she called but she didn’t leave a phone number, so because she didn’t I couldn’t call her backand she was my best friend.
    kEEP ON DREAMIN’!!!:( 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

  2. Nancy Ligon

    Dear Brooke,
    It is a sad thing that you lost your best friend. I know Bailey because she is my granddaugher’s half sister. I have raised my granddaughter since she was 15 months old. She misses Bailey and hasn’t gotten to see Bailey or the other kids in 7 months. I will tell AJ that you wrote about Bailey. She is 13 years old. I do know that Bailey is doing well in school.
    Nancy Ligon

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