Funeral Industry News

Women Arrested For Baby Funeral Scam In Modesto

June 22, 2011

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Women Arrested For Baby Funeral Scam In Modesto

If you were stopped at a busy intersection and saw two women holding a sign asking for funeral donations for a six-month-old, would you feel compelled to help?

“They have tugged on the heartstrings of people and taken advantage of them and that’s really what is difficult to understand,” says Sgt. Craig Gundlach of the Modesto Police Department.

MPD says Saturday just outside the Vintage Faire Malle, Chasity Doll and Tiffany Lyon were darting in and out of traffic on Sisk Road collecting cash for baby Justin Michael Farrell — a child they claimed died of a heart condition in Modesto while they were on vacation. A Modesto police officer showed up and told them to stay on the sidewalk.

“As he was leaving, he actually saw the ladies go back out into the roadway and collect money from passing motorists at least 8 to 10 times,” says Gundlach.

That’s when the officer began asking basic questions about the baby; about how the child died and what hospital it died at – Lyon and Doll weren’t able to answer those questions. So, the officer called the Stanislaus County Coroner – who had no information about a Justin Michael Farrell passing away in Modesto – ever.

It turns out the photo of Justin Michael Farrell had been printed off the internet. In just a few hours on Saturday, the pair had collected nearly $700.

With just a little more digging, officers discovered this wasn’t the first time the pair had pulled this scam in Modesto. They allege Doll and Lyon had done the same thing Friday at the corner of Briggsmore and McHenry.

“What we know is that there a lot of good hearted people here in Modesto who are willing to give money to those in need and we also have individuals in Modesto who are ready to take advantage,” says Gundlach.