Caregiver who faked having cancer to delay theft trial sentenced in Bucks County

Thursday, July 11, 2024 2:38AM
Caregiver who faked having cancer to delay theft trial sentenced in Bucks County
Caregiver who faked having cancer to delay theft trial sentenced in Bucks County

NEWTOWN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A woman in Bucks County who worked as a caregiver to the elderly and faked having cancer to delay her theft trial was sentenced in court on Wednesday.

Shannon Lynn Eberhart, 48, of Bensalem, was sentenced for stealing thousands of dollars in cash and heirloom jewelry from the families of two elderly women she cared for.

She then submitted fake medical documents claiming to have stage 4 esophageal cancer to delay her trial.

Shannon Lynn Eberhart, 48, of Bensalem, Pa.
Shannon Lynn Eberhart, 48, of Bensalem, Pa.

Eberhart was initially charged in February 2023 following an investigation by Newtown Township police.

The investigation revealed that Eberhart had stolen cash and jewelry from two women who she worked for as a caregiver.

"It was not about the monetary value," noted Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber. "These were pieces of heirloom jewelry handed down from generation to generation, now gone."

Police say she also made unauthorized withdrawals from one of the victim's bank accounts.

After the investigation, Eberhart waived her preliminary hearing and formal arraignment, and the case was scheduled for pre-trial on three different occasions.

A month before her scheduled court hearing in December 2023, however, Eberhart presented a document seemingly from a Montgomery County hospital claiming she had stage 4 cancer.

When authorities contacted the doctors named in the letter, they said they had never treated Eberhart or authorized her letter. The letter was also found to have several inaccuracies, such as the official name of the hospital and its logo.

Investigators also learned that Eberhart submitted the document to her attorney, who then sent it to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

On Wednesday, Eberhart pleaded guilty to the unlawful use of a computer and two counts of identity theft related to submitting the fake letter.

In March, she pleaded guilty to two counts of financial exploitation of an older adult or care-dependent person, theft by unlawful taking, and other offenses.

The families of the victims in this case gave impact statements on Eberhart's deceit.

They said they had cared for Eberhart, and her actions impacted them emotionally, not just financially. One victim recalled giving her flowers after Eberhart's mother passed, except that was untrue.

Eberhart's mother was in court on Wednesday.

"Shannon's actions here are unforgivable," one of the victims said. "These pieces of jewelry tell stories of my family, past and present, and can never be replaced."

Eberhart was sentenced to one year minus a day to two years minus a day in the Bucks County Correctional Facility. She will then serve 11 consecutive years of probation.

The judge also ordered her to pay $32,835 in restitution to three victims, undergo mental health and drug and alcohol treatment, and never work as a caregiver again.

"You are nothing but a con artist who deceived the people who cared for you," said Judge Gary Gilman. "You betrayed every cancer patient, you betrayed the court system, you betrayed your attorney."