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Hilmar duo arrested for cancer scam
William Richards
William Richards

Oakdale Police arrested a 31-year-old Hilmar woman on suspicion of bilking a kind-hearted Oakdale woman out of $8,500 on a bogus story that the suspect’s 10-year-old son had cancer and had eventually died from the disease.

According to police, Natasha Ann Uilani Medeiros had initially contacted the woman who was in her late 60s this summer when she went to the Oakdale home using her 10-year-old son to sell candy for what they portrayed as a school fundraiser.

During the contact, Medeiros learned that the victim’s husband had died of cancer. Medeiros sympathized with the victim and concocted a story that her son also had cancer, was going through chemotherapy, and she was in need of money for the treatments.

After receiving money from the victim, Medeiros continued to contact the victim over the next few months obtaining funds, finally telling the woman that her son had died and she now needed money for funeral expenses.

Police stated that Medeiros was able to scam the woman for about $8,500 over time and ultimately showed up at her house on Thanksgiving.

When family members who were at the house for the holiday learned what had happened they became suspicious and contacted police.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, family members took the victim to the Oakdale Police Station and reported the incident.

Officers were able to develop Medeiros as a suspect from the bank cancelled checks showing her driver’s license number written by bank personnel when the checks were cashed.

On Monday, Nov. 28, Officer Dale Russell went to the Boyd Drive residence to follow-up the investigation with a photo line-up and found Medeiros inside the woman’s house.

Officer Russell arrested Medeiros for suspicion of financial elder abuse.

During questioning, Medeiros admitted to police about fabricating the cancer story to get money from the victim

During their investigation, officers located Medeiros’ husband, William Michael Richards, 33, walking in the victim’s neighborhood.

Richards was questioned and the investigation revealed he had deposited the checks the victim had written and drove Medeiros to the victim’s house to carry out the scam.

Richards was also arrested for financial elder abuse and both subjects were also charged with conspiracy.

Both Medeiros and Richards remain in custody in Stanislaus County Jail on the felony charges, each with a $25,000 bail.

Since the arrest and subsequent posts on social media, Sergeant Gary Vanderheiden said there had been six additional notifications of someone, most likely Medeiros, selling candy and talking about her ill son.

“Additional complaints have come in about sales with the same story,” Sgt. Vanderheiden said. “None of those have to do with elder abuse or anything near the amount of loss the victim suffered.”

Anyone with information or believing to be an additional victim should contact Oakdale Police Department at (209) 847-2231.