One week after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Kristopher Cook, 28, was taken into custody in Victoria after allegedly faking cancer in order to collect money.
Calgary police contacted the Victoria Police Department and advised they had a tip that Cook was in their jurisdiction. The fugitive was arrested without incident by the VPD's Focused Enforcement Team around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
Cook faces two charges of fraud over $5,000.
On Sept. 5, the Calgary Police Service announced a warrant had been issued for Cook's arrest after it was alleged he caused a fraudulent fundraiser to be held two months ago.
It is alleged that about 100 people attended the July 8 event that raised $7,500 in cash. The owner of the fundraiser's venue provided the space free-of-charge. The money was to go to help pay for the treatment of Cook's brain cancer, a cancer police do not believe he has.
Last month, Calgary police received complaints and an investigation was begun by the service's Economic Crimes Unit. The investigation led police to conclude Cook did not have cancer and had obtained the money fraudulently.
Friends of Cook became suspicious of the man when he refused to let them go inside the hospital with him when he went for his cancer treatments. And friends thought it was strange that Cook was spending a lot of late nights in bars during the time he said he was undergoing treatment.
Martin West, of the Calgary Police Service, was quoted in the Calgary Herald as saying, "We were able to determine he didn't receive any cancer treatment at any cancer facility in Calgary. From that we were able to draw the conclusion that the money wasn't used for cancer treatment."
Faking cancer in order to obtain a benefit is not unknown in Canada. As CBC reported, Ashley Kirilow, 23, received a conditional sentence of 15 months on April 7, 2011 after pleading guilty to one count of fraud over and one of fraud under. She raised over $12,000 by pretending to have cancer, going so far as to shave her head to convince people she was undergoing chemotherapy. Kirilow was also placed on probation for two years with a condition she was not to solicit moneys for any charity.
Last November, Sherry Dawn George, was sentenced to 10 months in jail for stealing from her Halifax, Nova Scotia employer. She told her lawyer and the court that part of the reason she stole was because she was suffering from stomach and ovarian cancer. Suspicious prosecutors determined she did not in fact have cancer.
Faking cancer to obtain money not only defrauds the victims but makes it harder for legitimate fundraisers to collect money that goes to authorized cancer charities.
Cook is presently in custody in Victoria, awaiting his return to Calgary.