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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