Florida man allegedly posed as breast cancer patient to steal from nonprofits


Inset: Timothy Bartlett Volusia County Jail booking photo. Background: Timothy Bartlett arrest, Volusia County Sheriffs Facebook.

Inset: Timothy Bartlett booking photo (Volusia County Jail). Background: Timothy Bartlett arrest (Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Facebook).

A man who allegedly posed as a woman with breast cancer and defrauded nonprofit organizations who assist real cancer patients struggling to pay their bills as they undergo treatment or are in recovery has been arrested in Florida.

Timothy Bartlett, 68, of Deltona, stole $5,000 in assistance from at least one Florida nonprofit providing those services, according to a statement from Mike Chitwood of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives said Bartlett also “ran the same scam to defraud four other nonprofits in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Wisconsin,” according to Chitwood.

Bartlett is now detained on $20,500 bond.

“This is our scumbag of the week. I mean, you can’t get much lower than this,” Chitwood told local Fox affiliate WOFL

“How low can you go. Money is meant for folks who are trying to beat cancer and can’t pay their bills,” he added.

In an arrest affidavit reviewed by Law&Crime on Tuesday, police said the owner of a nonprofit known as The Lyn Fund, Edwinna Morrin, contacted the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in early April reporting that she bad received a troubling tip tied to a person who had reached out to her for cash assistance.

It happened in March, Morrin said, when she received an application via email from a woman who called herself “Sally Holmes.”

“Holmes” told Morrin she was being treated for breast cancer and had been unemployed since January. On the application, “Holmes” listed her address in Wesley Chapel, Florida, and listed a landlord — Timothy Bartlett of Deltona.

Not long after, Morrin told police she “received a call from an anonymous source” who advised her that Bartlett did not own any rental properties and was “part of a group engaged in scamming charities out of funds by submitting fraudulent applications,” a police affidavit states.

Though she had only done a “cursory” check when Bartlett — allegedly posing as “Holmes” — first contacted her — a deeper dive helped her determine that a phone number listed on the “Sally Holmes” application was not in service and information provided for a supposed medical provider was also false.

The address in Wesley Chapel was also traced back to a vacant commercial property, police said.

Once Morrin realized she may have been duped, police said that she contacted the New Hampshire Breast Cancer Coalition, the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition, the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance and a cancer patient assistance nonprofit known as Sophia’s Fund in Massachusetts.

They all believed they had been victims too, Morrin told police.

Thus far detectives said Bartlett received just $5,000 as part of his scam but an investigation is still pending.

“We’ve just scratched the surface of how this may run, but it’s pretty disgusting. I mean, like I said, he’s going to be a real scumbag to go out and do something like this. He’s in a good place right now. He should rot in that jail cell,” Sheriff Chitwood said.

Per the police affidavit, detectives showed up on Bartlett’s doorstep in Deltona on May 23 and told him they were investigating “a potentially fraudulent banking transaction.”

Bartlett was willing to voluntarily answer questions, according to arrest records, and he also reviewed photocopies of checks he had allegedly received while posing as cancer patient “Joshlynn Jackson.”

Police said they determined “Joshlynn Jackson” was not a real person after investigating the numbers, work references and other personal details Bartlett used on an application when he targeted the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

While reviewing a check he received meant for “Joshlynn Jackson’s” rent, police said Bartlett bizarrely told them he recalled “seeing the letter and knew the check was intended for Jackson’s landlord” but he denied knowing any “Joshlynn Jackson” directly.

Bartlett told police he also wasn’t Jackson’s landlord.

When the detective asked Bartlett “if he thought it was odd that he received a check which obviously was intended for Jackson’s landlord if he was not Jackson’s landlord and did not know her,” Bartlett launched into an explanation about running a home business where he “cashes checks for people.”

Police said when they asked him to elaborate, he meandered through a reply about handling “papers and things for people.” Police conducted a search of the Florida Division of Corporations to verify if Bartlett was running a business from his home after that initial interview and concluded he was not.

Bartlett is charged with organized scheme to defraud under $20,000 and grand theft. Jail records show he is also being charged with a misdemeanor for operating a vehicle with a suspended license.

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