Merrill woman pleads not guilty in cancer scam - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill woman pleads not guilty in cancer scam


A Merrill woman who prosecutors say lied about having cancer pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of theft.

Celina Winchell, 19, made her first appearance in Lincoln County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Winchell is charged with 17 counts of misdemeanor theft and one count of obstructing an officer.

Police say Winchell told 17 businesses in Merrill she had terminal cancer. They say those businesses set up donation jars and started scheduling a pancake breakfast fundraiser for her.

"Cancer is everywhere and anything that diminishes the significance of cancer to try to exploit that is something that hurts everyone in the community," said Kurt Zengler, Lincoln County Asst. District Attorney.

Winchell's attorney had no comment.

The judge set a $1,500 signature bond.

Winchell is accused of theft in a similar case in Marathon County. In that case, prosecutors also say she received donations after claiming to have cancer.

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