Dougherty faked son's cancer illness to scam donors out of thousands of dollars and other items.
By H. Nelson Goodson
June 12, 2013
Appleton, WI - On Friday, Robert L. Dougherty, 42, was charged in Outagamie County with one felony count for theft in connection with scamming donors of thousands of dollars and other items. Dougherty apparently contacted Fox Valley race car driver Lowell Bennett about his son's alleged terminal illness with thyroid cancer and his wish to get an autograph picture and to meet the race car driver.
Bennett rented a van for Dougherty to use and paid more than $1,305 for three nights accommodations at a Days Inn, so they could attend a car race in Slinger Speedway.
Bennett and his friends donated more than $11,000 for Dougherty and his son. Cash donations totalling $5,400 were collected at the race track. Another estimated collection at the race track totalled nearly $3,000 and was mailed by check to Dougherty, according to the criminal complaint.
Police recovered some of the money after Dougherty was arrested.
Dougherty had also received a used 2003 minivan worth about $1,100 from Bennett.
Dougherty attempted to scam another car race driver from North Carolina, but the driver became suspicious after he saw a FOX 6 News story, which aired in May about Bennett helping out Dougherty and his son. Dougherty could be seen with tears in his eyes several time during the story, while watching his son ride with Bennett around the speedway. The North Carolina car race driver contacted Bennett and notified him that Dougherty had contacted him about his ill son and was attempting to do the same thing he did with Bennett.
Bennett also got suspicious that Dougherty might be scamming and contacted police to investigate Dougherty's claim that his son had cancer.
Police in Kentucky got involved after Dougherty told Bennett, he was planning to moved from Kentucky to Wisconsin to provide the needed treatment for his son. Dougherty was looking for additional donations to pay for his son's mounting medical bills.
Kentucky police investigated and confronted Dougherty at his residence in Glasgow, Kentucky about his son's illness. Dougherty admitted to police that his son was not terminally ill with cancer, but only had ADHD.
Dougherty contacted Bennett again and told him that he had been evicted from his home, but when he arrived in Wisconsin on June 4, to meet up with Bennett at his Neenah home, Dougherty was taken into custody by police.
Dougherty's son did not know, he was being used by his father to scam donors, according to police.
Dougherty was charged with theft for taking more than $11,225. He also admitted to police, that he was attempting to scam at least three other potential donors.
A cash bail of $25,000 was set for Dougherty. If convicted, Dougherty is facing 10 years and fines up to $25,000.