EUGENE, Ore. — A Springfield man who collected donations for cancer he didn’t have found out his punishment Monday.
The judge compared Charles Embleton’s crime of faking cancer to stealing a child’s wheelchair or stealing from the collection plate at church.
She says the crime has affected lives of people Embleton never even knew.
Embleton pleaded guilty to six counts of theft by deception, but Andy Funke–the only victim at Monday’s sentencing–says Embleton hurt many more than six people.
“It’s going to be hard to get trust back in the community. It really is,” Funke said.
And that was the judge’s most emphasized point–that Embleton’s crimes jeopardized the trust of thousands of people, saying that his actions could keep people from donating to other legitimate causes because they think it could be a scam.
Funke agrees it’s shaken his trust.
“I’ve thought about that. I try to still trust people, but I look at it differently. I do look at it a little differently,” Funke said.
Funke feels Embleton deserved a heavier sentence than the six months in jail and 18 months of probation he got, and he feels the seriousness and scope of cancer would have hurt Embleton in a trial.
“I think he would have been sentenced a lot harder if he would have gone to trial. There’s nobody that doesn’t know somebody that’s had cancer, suffered from cancer, died from cancer,” Funke said.
Even the judge mentioned her friend and former Lane County Sheriff’s Office health services manager Richard Sherman who died in 2005 from pancreatic cancer–the exact cancer Embleton claimed to have.
The judge told Embleton to think of Sherman as he walked through the jail wing dedicated to him.
Embleton apologized in a letter to the victims, but Funke says reading it didn’t help him regain any trust, but he hopes it means Embleton is willing to change.
“I forgive him. I hold no grudges against him. I just don’t want to see it happen again to other people,” Funke said.
The judge said she chose a shorter jail sentence so Embleton could go back to work quickly in order to pay back the more than $9,000 he stole. But he won’t report to jail until Thursday night so that he can finish his final exams at Lane Community College.