Illinois woman accused of faking illnesses to scam charities

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HIGHLAND, Ill. – A woman from Highland, Illinois is accused of lying about being a mother, having breast cancer, and muscular dystrophy to scam charities.

The FBI raided a home in Highland about three weeks ago, residents said. It had been the talk of the town with no further information revealed until Wednesday.

According to an eight-count federal indictment, Sarah Delashmit attended a camp for the disabled in Texas called Camp Summit in 2016, posing as an “individual with Muscular Dystrophy.”

She was allegedly taking part in activities from horseback riding to zip-lining before administrator Carla Weiland said Delashmit’s deception was discovered.

“Camp Summit is a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities. Ms. Delashmit applied and provided the information requested to attend our camp. During the spring break session which Ms. Delashmit was attending, we learned of her deception,” Weiland said. “At that time, we were in contact with her family and pastor to assist in getting her the help they felt was needed. Camp Summit continues to provide barrier-free outdoor experiences to more than 2,500 children and adults with disabilities annually.”

The indictment said Delashmit then lied about being a breast cancer survivor in 2018 to get a trip to Florida from a charity for cancer survivors called the Young Survival Coalition. It also says she got a free bicycle through the group’s cycling program.
Neighbors in Highland remembered hearing she had cancer, seeing a wheelchair, and then the federal raid last month.

“Two of the guys had on blue jackets and they had the big FBI on the back of the jacket,” neighbor Mark Kulig said of the raid. “They started pulling all of these bikes out of the garage and they were looking at the serial numbers. They took one or two of the bikes with them. They had packages. They were there for about eight hours.”

Did neighbors see her wheeled into the house?

“No, she would actually push it into the house,” neighbor Ron Wagner said. “I saw her a number of years ago with a shaved head. The rumor was she had cancer…I think it’s a crying shame. There’s people out there who need those kinds of services. Nobody needs somebody to take advantage of them.”

Delashmit was charged with five counts of fraud and three counts of identity theft. She allegedly used another woman’s information to arrange the trips and also buy a $4,400 bicycle from a Florida retailer in May.

Authorities are also seeking forfeiture of “all proceeds derived from the charities,” two high-dollar bicycles, plus cycling shoes, and a cycling jersey. She is not custody but has been issued a summons to appear in federal court later this month.


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