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Woman fakes cancer to raise money — is she a do-gooder, or a sociopath?


Editor’s note: The following story and comment were sent by a Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Jeri-Lynn.” A well-known woman from West Seattle, Tracy Dart, claimed she battled cancer three times while raising money for the disease. Allegations are that she never had cancer at all.

Local woman may have faked cancer diagnosis, on King5.com.

This a story from my community, which is reeling from the news. Are daily lies which do “good” things like raise $ for cancer research somehow “better” than lies perpetuated by sociopaths to actively hurt their targets?

I suspect her family and friends are hurting equally – just all at once instead of slowly over time.

I’ve been reading some of the comments on the news posts. There were some who knew her who had doubts, but they felt guilty about having them, and embarrassed to say anything publicly because she was so loved.  

It’s also very odd to see those who were betrayed by her still defending her and asking for pity because of her “mental illness.” She can still get the pity play working for her!

(Ironically, she’s now in ICU for cirrhosis. She was a regular at the local bars, and drinking heavily even on her “chemo days).

Maybe the “mental illness” and current health situation will help her escape much-deserved prosecution. Maybe she’ll write a book about it, or sell her story and get rich off of it.

It’s an interesting story… tons of triggers for me, of course. I’d love to hear other victims of sociopaths weigh in. 


Posted in: Female sociopaths

11 Comments on "Woman fakes cancer to raise money — is she a do-gooder, or a sociopath?"

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  1. seekeroflight says:

    Yeah, no. She’s no better. My ex did plenty of “good” things for a lot of people and causes. Because now people will be that much less likely to be so generous with the next true cancer survivor. Cancer patients have enough stigma to deal with as it is without the crazies like this woman showing their face. How ridiculous and sad.



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  2. 4Light2shine says:

    There are no easy answers usually. When people use deception for any reason I pay attention. Is there a pity me element in play ? This made me think of Lance Armstrong. His fraud and lies along with destroying anyone who had the audacity to speak the truth did make a lot of money toward a good cause. Did the “good ” that was done justify the means ? I wonder what the many who were heavily slandered and lost careers and so much more, or the guy who received death threats in attempts to stomp out truth would say. Spathy people are opportunistic and sicofantic. They are always looking for a crack that they can slip into. If they end up helping others for a bit in their quest for power and domination, they know this will pay dividends by way of access to prey and supply and their resume too.



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  3. AnnettePK says:

    She manipulated people into donating by lying to them. Her ruse is offensive to those who are dealing with a real illness. She has plenty of opportunities to ‘do good’ without lying and manipulating.
    Her behavior is probably illegal and subject to criminal prosecution, or possibly a civil suit.



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  4. slimone says:

    Well, we don’t know. But what we do know is she is a liar. A big liar.



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  5. NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

    Oh people, this is not an isolated case.
    It’s MUCH worse.

    The biggest pity play scam is collecting for those in need. What a racket. I started investigating after my friend’s husband died of ALS. That ice bucket challenge is quite a racket. For there, I started investigating EVERY huge charity. I found the same racket in almost EVERY charity drive, they get HUGE donations and a small amount is actually disbursed.

    ALWAYS check out the charity, see how much goes to “fundraising expenses” which is code for flights/hotels/dining/recreation for the organization and how much is actually disbursed for the need that the charity claims. In my town, there are dozens of charity shops, for pets, for the aged, for the homeless, Cars for kids, etc. Almost NOTHING get disbursed.

    MANY charities “for our wounded warriors” have devolved, started with great intentions (Ithink) and did well at first but now are cash cows for the organizers, disbursing pennies for homes for soldiers or no homes at all. When donating to a cause, I contribute directly to that specific recipient or to a cause that I KNOW that MUST spend over 90% of the contributions to the recipients, and as an accountant, I do look over their financials to see how funds can be confiscated.

    The woman in the story above is someone who needed money and stumbled on a way to get it. I am sure she saw they were a scam so she decided to get her cut. She’s just scamming the scammers and rationalizes that moral. She’s a leech. That she got away with it so long is due to her peeps.

    It’s gotten to where I don’t buy Girlscout cookies b/c the social message is so negative. I donate directly to her scout troop and I don’t donate cash. I pay their expenses for an outing. So the donation is ME to the vendor, that way the girls get ALL the benefit. The cookie company makes a fortune off of those little girls. AhhhhhGGG!



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  6. Annie says:

    I can’t figure out if this is more ‘Munchausen Syndrome’ or ‘Munchausen by Proxy’. Probably a combination of both: she’s not only getting sympathy for having an illness she’s made up (Munchausen’s Syndrome), but she’s also getting sympathy and strokes for being such a wonderful, giving, caring person based on her efforts on behalf of someone else’s illness (by proxy, the connection to her based on the original lie).

    Reminds me of that woman who became the face of NY 9/11 survivors and various subsequent charity money-raising campaigns. Turns out, surprise surprise, she was never involved in 9/11 at all. I don’t remember enough details to find a link – but some readers here will know who I’m talking about I’m sure. I believe there is a post here on LF about it.

    One of the ways to distinguish ‘official’ MSbP from fraud is that the perpetrator’s main goal is attention and sympathy, not money, and not violence. But in real life they are not mutually exclusive.

    Readers will have to decide for themselves if there is a connection, but I think there is a very similar mindset at play between the ‘fake cancer’ woman and MS and MSbP.

    Lest anyone think that MSbP is harmless, and just a sign of wanting attention, I’d suggest this link:
    http://www.salon.com/1998/01/26/cov_26feature_2/ The article’s focus is on the people who _inflict_ violence against their children in order to gain attention from being seen as the all-giving caregiver, but people who do this are just as likely to take advantage of a legitimate existing illness.



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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      I am unable to diagnose Munchausen. I know that people find a way to fill their need for significance. That’s a normal need. But some have a hole inside them that is never filled.

      Did she start with needing to fill her need for significance and once down that path, to hide the lie, she had to carry on the deceit? Do those who deceive become numb to the lie and it’s easier to do it again? And again? That once a person justifies a scam, they justify more and more so that eventually they are driving a beautiful pink car and getting lots of approval and loving attention? Is she doing it b/c she enjoys scamming others (sociopath) or b/c she NEEDS unending approval (narcissism). Is she incapable of authentic remorse?

      I dunno about any of it. The real answers are beyond my ability b/c the only source I have is the news media (not exactly without agenda nor trustworthy themselves.) But I do agree with your last paragraph most truly… it’s NOT harmless. And it is parasitical.



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      • AnnettePK says:

        Building a good life or building a bad life consist of many small decisions based on one’s overall motivations and beliefs. Once someone tells the first lie or makes a selfless sacrifice for another, it is easier to repeat the same act again. Decisions become actions become habits become character.



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  7. liferaft2 says:

    What a disgusting woman! It’s obvious to me that her head is shaved…and even if she did that daily, it’s impossible to avoid “five o’clock shadow” later in the day, especially for a brunette. I wonder if anyone ever pointed that out to her and questioned her about it. What’s more, it’s apparent that she has a full head of thick hair…no chemo patient ever has that, especially a three-timer!



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