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Police: Greenville man used fake cancer story

Kimberly Houghton
Union Leader Correspondent

May 16. 2011 11:44PM

HUDSON - A Greenville man allegedly lied to his employer about his wife having terminal cancer, and she only learned of the scheme after she opened a sympathy card sent by the employer lamenting the loss.

Scott Wellington, 31, of 41 Acton Court, is accused of bilking more than $7,000 in donations from his employer, C&M Machine Co. of Hudson, after telling co-workers that his wife had cancer and eventually died from the illness.

'We were extra sympathetic to this guy,' said Dan Villemaire, president of C&M Machine Co. 'My father, Paul, the CEO of this company, is a cancer survivor. This really pulled at our heartstrings.'

Wellington, who has four children under age 10, had been lying to the company for about two years, according to Villemaire. It started with a claim that his wife found a lump in her breast, and then escalated to breast cancer and eventually became a double mastectomy, he said.

In addition to about $7,000 in donations from the company, other cash was donated to the family to support ongoing medical needs, said Villemaire.

He said Wellington was frequently given time off to spend time with his children and attend medical procedures with his wife.

'At Christmastime we even gave him three or four weeks off - paid - because she wasn't doing well,' said Villemaire. 'But it was a lie. It was all a lie.'

Police said the ruse was exposed when Wellington's wife, whom police aren't identifying, opened a sympathy card that was sent to Wellington's Greenville home from C&M Machine Co. containing a $500 or $600 money order.

The wife contacted Villemaire to tell him that she was indeed alive, and Villemaire in turn called the authorities.

'She felt bad for all of us,' Villemaire said of Wellington's wife, adding the company agreed to let her keep the money order rather than distribute it back to the many employees who gave small sums of cash.

Wellington was arrested Saturday by the Hudson Police Department and charged with two counts of theft by deception, a Class A felony punishable up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

During arraignment Monday at Nashua District Court, Wellington pleaded innocent to the charges, and bail was increased to $5,000 cash. He was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Police said Wellington's wife is healthy and had not been ill.

'I've never seen this happen,' Sgt. Michael Gosselin said yesterday, adding that Wellington's wife was unaware of the hoax.

Villemaire, who had even granted bereavement time to Wellington, said Wellington left his job at C&M Machine Co. several weeks ago after his wife's fake death. Wellington told co-workers that his house went into foreclosure and he was forced to move his children to Massachusetts to live with relatives following his wife's passing.

Some employees had begun questioning Wellington's story when they were discouraged from attending the funeral service for his wife, and never found an obituary notice. But Villemaire said he told them that it wasn't fair to judge someone whose wife just died and was insisting on a private funeral service and private burial.

The company felt inspired to send a sympathy card to the house, which was eventually opened by the unsuspecting wife.

'He had everyone fooled here. He kept his head down and worked hard. This was shocking to everyone,' said Villemaire, who contacted police to ensure that Wellington's next employer isn't victim to the same lies.

Wellington's wife couldn't be reached for comment. Wellington will be back in Nashua District Court May 25 for a probable cause hearing.

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