Deputy Committed Suicide; Lawmen Say He Faked Cancer, Scammed Friends

Authorities say an Ohio sheriff's deputy who committed suicide last week pretended for years that he had cancer while scamming friends and colleagues out of thousands of dollars in charitable donations to pay phony medical bills.

Marion County Deputy Sheriff Joe Russell shot himself in his home Sept. 30. He was 39.

Sheriff Tim Bailey says an investigation revealed Russell's cancer was a con. Bailey says Russell had fabricated notes from doctors to support a story about how he was fighting cancer in his lungs, brain and testicles.

An autopsy found Russell never had the disease.

In 2007, Russell received about $20,000 from a Fraternal Order of Police fundraiser.

On Wednesday, the sheriff said Russell's wife told investigators she didn't know about the con until last week.

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  • by DT on Oct 11, 2009 at 08:01 PM
    I hope they take all the donated money out of his death benefit or any widows retirement benefit. She didn't know awwww come on.
  • by SHONTAE Location: NEW HAVEN,CT on Oct 11, 2009 at 07:55 PM
    yes it had to be a lie.they should charge her with conspiracy eventhough he not here to face his husband is in the law and whenever some one on the force pass or get sick or injured to where they will be out of the force for a long period of time they hold a fundraiser or just contribute and put it in an account for the wife or children so i'm sure she knew about this.i think its very wrong that they use people this way and justice needs to be served and the money should be returned to all who contributed.
  • by Bill Location: Greenville on Oct 11, 2009 at 07:16 PM
    To Anonymous, She may have been been deceived also and thought he had cancer. Love and faith,in your spouse, may lead to blindness ! Bah Ha Ha Choke on that one! This fellow was very treacherous .
  • by Anonymous on Oct 11, 2009 at 12:16 PM
    The wife didn't know? Please!! How could she not? Most people call and visit to make sure you don't need anything. She didn't know? That sounds like a lie.

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