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Man confesses to money plot - He faked brain tumor for donations

Posted on: 09/16/2003

Man confesses to money plot - He faked brain tumor for donations

By Trace Christenson
The Enquirer

A Battle Creek man who took money for cancer treatments he didn't need will be sentenced next month.

Michael Etheridge, 47, faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 30 by Calhoun County Circuit Judge Allen Garbrecht.

Etheridge pleaded guilty Thursday to obtaining money by false pretenses.

"I indicated to my family that I had a brain tumor. It progressed from there and they had fund-raisers to send me to Mexico," he told Garbrecht. "I did go to Mexico for treatment."

During a three-month period in 2001, about $35,000 was raised by family and friends for Etheridge.

He had said he suffered from flablastoma multiform, a cancerous tumor near his brain stem. He spent 23 days and $23,000 undergoing treatment in Santa Monica, Mexico.

But Etheridge told the judge after returning he felt guilty and started confessing to people that he was not ill.

He later said he was undergoing psychological treatment and did have an evaluation and was ruled in July competent to stand trial.

Michigan State Police have been trying to determine the exact amount money raised and have asked any victims to call the Battle Creek post at 968-6115 or the prosecutor's office at 969-6980.

Etheridge remains free on bond.

Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or

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