Meet Seven Colorado Women Accused of Faking Cancer

Tausha Marsh leads our cancer faker pack.
Tausha Marsh leads our cancer faker pack. File photo
Caroline Zarate Boyle has been indicted on allegations that she pretended to have cancer, and she's not alone. Indeed, she's the seventh Colorado woman in recent years to have been publicly accused of faking cancer.

Some of the women whose stories have been told by Westword wound up in jail or even prison for padding their bank accounts by defrauding unsuspecting, kind-hearted folks. At least one other case beyond Boyle's is still pending. And one woman was never criminally charged since she didn't profit from her hoax beyond receiving a huge amount of attention.

For good or ill.

Continue to learn about all seven by way of excerpts from our previous coverage, replete with photos and links to our original posts

click to enlarge Tausha Marsh, left. - FILE PHOTO
Tausha Marsh, left.
File photo
If Tausha Marsh Did Fake Cancer, Here's Hoping She Invested Her Profits With the Mormon Madoff
THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2009, AT 11 A.M.

Attention, Denver! Please keep your wallet in your front pocket at all times, shred all documents, and ask your girlfriend for two forms of ID before you let her in your apartment. Because apparently it's Really Brazen But Not All That Clever Scam Week.

First, of course, it was reported that Shawn Merriman, a former Mormon Bishop, has for fifteen years been snaking his friends' money in a Ponzi scheme that would make the horns on Bernie Madoff's head stand on end. With the SEC now out of its decade-long hibernation, Merriman's no-doubt tacky belongings are being seized, but the Post is reporting that his victims won't likely get much money back.

And today, police are accusing a really nice-looking lady of faking cancer — and stealing $15,000-plus from generous donors in the process. If the accusations against Gunnison's Tausha Marsh are true — her Facebook wall-writers sure don't think they are — that's pretty low. You can only hope Marsh invested her loot in an aggressive, surefire investment portfolio of Rembrandts, classic cars and stuffed African game. Oh, and Mitt Romney donations, of course.

Update: In September 2010, Marsh was sentenced to a month-plus in jail and ordered to both repay those she bilked and give them handwritten apology letters.

click to enlarge Ann Crall. - FILE PHOTOS
Ann Crall.
File photos
Ann Crall: Cancer-Faking Lakewood Cop's Wife Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Could Get 15 Years
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2010, AT 8:20 A.M.

Hot on the heels of the jail sentence leveled against admitted cancer-faking hottie Tausha Marsh, we've learned about a grand jury indictment against Ann Crall, who's said to have collected nearly $60,000 for a bogus illness.

The capper? Many of the donors were Lakewood police officers — and colleagues of Crall's husband.

According to Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis, Crall's husband, Rich Crall, has been on administrative leave "as a precaution — a procedure we wanted to follow until this whole investigation from the grand jury's perspective ended. Which it has, and they chose not to indict him or charge him."

The natural assumption: Rich was duped like everyone else.

The narrative section of the Ann Crall indictment is explicit about her health, stating that she "has never been diagnosed with cancer or received treatment for cancer." Nonetheless, she told her husband and others during the fall of 2005 that she had been diagnosed, and kept up this apparent ruse for the better part of five years.

Why? "In reality," the indictment says, "Ann Crall did have an addiction to prescription drugs and her need to fund this problem may have been one of the reasons why Ann Crall failed to tell anyone that her claim to have cancer was false."

Update: In June 2014, Crall was sentenced to eight years in prison.

click to enlarge Jennifer Stover. - FILE PHOTO
Jennifer Stover.
File photo
Jennifer Stover Allegedly Bilked Hospice Co-Workers Out of $30,000 by Faking Cancer
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012, AT 9:44 A.M.

According to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Jennifer Stover, 35, told a hospice staffer back in 2008 that she had developed a cyst that required "experimental treatment." She allegedly kept this story going over the next several years, using it as an excuse whenever she missed work, which happened frequently. Then, in the spring of 2010, Stover is said to have announced that she had uterine cancer — and again, experimental treatment was required.

When a co-worker offered to solicit funds on her behalf to help cover her care, the DA's office says Stover authorized it. And the folks at the hospice were uncommonly generous, donating paid leave to Stover while she was getting her treatments and even helping pay for car and mortgage payments, utility bills and groceries.

Not that Stover shrugged off the obligation. In fact, she reportedly offered to pay back donated money from a lawsuit settlement. But the DA's office believes this windfall was as phony as the cancer itself.

In the end, Stover is accused of bilking around $30,000 from a total of sixteen people, prompting charges of theft exceeding $20,000 and charitable fraud.

Update: In April 2016, Stover was sentenced to ninety days in jail.

Continue to read about four more accused Colorado cancer fakers, including Caroline Zarate Boyle.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts