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Northwood woman's cancer fraud case heads to court

Northwood woman's cancer fraud case heads to court

Jennifer Mikesell


A Northwood woman accused of fraudulently claiming cancer and receiving gifts and money because of it, will have her arraignment hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Worth County Courthouse.

Jennifer Mikesell, 43, is charged with ongoing criminal conduct, fraudulent practices, second-degree theft, and four counts of forgery, all felonies.

Mikesell claimed she had cancer and was having surgeries and treatments done at Mayo Health Systems in Rochester, according to the criminal complaint.

When a search warrant was served at Mayo Health Systems Medical Records Department, law enforcement learned she was never diagnosed nor treated for cancer, according to court documents.

Mikesell had given her employer doctor’s notes from three different doctors -- one of whom was not employed by the hospital she stated on the note -- that all held forged signatures, according to the complaint. She had also created an email account through which she portrayed herself as a doctor sending the emails.

When asked why she had lied about having cancer, Mikesell said it was “because of stuff from the past,” but did not want to explain what happened in the past, saying nobody knows and nobody needs to know about her past, after an interview law enforcement had with Mikesell.

Mikesell fraudulently received a bedroom makeover from My Happy Haven, a Meal Train in which volunteers make and deliver meals, and money and gifts from her church in Albert Lea, Crossroads Church, according to court documents.

Mikesell also has a history of criminal conduct beyond Iowa.

In Florida, Mikesell was accused of felony criminal use of personal identification information and forgery, and misdemeanor theft in 2003.

In that case Mikesell took a "nolo contendere" plea on the first two charges, which means she neither accepts nor denies responsibility for them but accepts the punishment. No information was listed in the court records on the forgery charge.

She received 3 years of probation, a $503 fine in total and had to pay $1,557.89 in restitution.

More recently, in February 2015 in Mitchell County, Mikesell was accused of writing checks from a Girl Scout account for her personal use, paying for groceries and a new snow blower. Court records indicate she wrote seven checks equaling $1,441.60 for personal use from the Girl Scout checking account between Jan. 23, 2015, and Feb. 3, 2015, according to the criminal complaint.

She was charged with ongoing criminal conduct and second degree theft, but in a plea deal, the ongoing criminal conduct charge was dropped and the theft charge was lowered to third degree theft.

She received 10 days in jail and a $625 fine.

Grace Zaplatynsky can be reached at 641-421-0534.


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