Woman Gets 6 Years In Prison – After Faking Cancer And Military Status

Sarah Jane Cavanaugh, a 32-year-old former social worker has received a nearly 6 year federal prison sentence after using stolen patient information to pose as a sick Marine in a “massive fraud scheme.” According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island, Cavanaugh never served in the military though she had false portraited a veteran and received “$250,000 in cash, charitable donations, and services reserved for injured veterans.” In addition to serving time in a federal prison she was also ordered to pay full restitution to all victims she perpetrated.

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What did Sarah Cavanaugh claim?
Cavanaugh claimed she was a Bronze Star decorated Marine who had been awarded a Purple Heart. She also claimed she had cancer which she claimed was brought on from her time in Iraq where she inhaled matter from an IED explosion.

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What did Cavanaugh do?
Cavanaugh stole patient information from her job at a VA hospital which allowed her to create her story. She then was able to create a fake persona with this wrongfully obtained information to get cash, charitable donations, and services. She used her civilian role at the Rhode Island Veterans Affairs Medical Center to gather veteran identities, their combat experiences, valor and diagnoses of illnesses to create her own fake documents and medical records with her own name. Using her fake persona she was introduced to individuals and veteran charities that she then defrauded. She was able to also get funds for travel, in-home care, gym memberships, physical therapy, and even payments for electric bills through different programs meant for veterans. She was also able to take several months of paid time off through her federal job by revealing her “health issues.”

Cavanaugh also was able to rise in the veteran community as a leader, where she even gave speeches to the community dressed in Marine uniform and medals. Items she purchased from the internet.

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Where did her scheme go wrong?
In January 2022 it seemed her scheme was going wrong. When she had requested assistance from a nonprofit they had requested information on her military past. Which is what began to raise red flags in the community.

And in August of 2022 she plead guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, forging military discharge certificates, and even fraud charges for using fake military medals.

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11 days ago

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