Bucks caregiver convicted for faking cancer to delay robbery trial

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. — A woman has been convicted of stealing thousands of dollars in cash and family jewelry from the families of two elderly women in her care, then submitting false medical documents claiming to have stage 4 esophageal cancer so she could delay her trial, authorities said.

Shannon Lynn Eberhart, 48, of Bensalem, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of unlawful use of a computer and two counts of identity theft related to submitting fraudulent documents, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said.

In March, she pleaded guilty to two counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person or person in need of care, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, as well as one count each of identity theft and access device fraud.

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Trial Judge Gary B. Gilman sentenced Eberhart to one year less a day to two years less a day in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, followed by a consecutive term of 11 years of probation.

He called his actions “despicable and unfathomable” and an endless betrayal of those who trusted him.

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“You are nothing but a con man who has deceived the people who cared for you,” he said. “You have betrayed every cancer patient, you have betrayed the justice system, you have betrayed your attorney,” said Gilman, who questioned whether Eberhart’s tears in court were real or just another one of his deceptions.

In addition to her prison sentence and probation, Gilman ordered Eberhart to pay $32,835 in restitution to three victims, undergo mental health, drug and alcohol treatment and never again work as a caregiver.

Eberhart was initially charged in late February 2023 following an investigation by the Newtown Township Police Department that revealed she stole jewelry and money from two women she worked for as a babysitter.

Additionally, the investigation revealed that Eberhart made unauthorized withdrawals from one of the victim’s bank accounts.

Assistant District Attorney Marc J. Furber said that shortly after he was hired, Eberhart began stealing from under their noses.

“It wasn’t about monetary value,” he said. “These were family jewels that had been passed down through generations and are now gone.”

Eberhart waived his preliminary hearing and formal arraignment, and the case was scheduled for a pretrial conference on three separate occasions.

A month before a scheduled court hearing in December 2023, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office received a medical document from Eberhart’s public defender, who had received it from Eberhart to support his request for a continuance.

The letter, which appeared to come from a Montgomery County hospital, said Eberhart had stage 4 esophageal cancer and needed further treatment.

Bucks County detectives contacted the two doctors named in the letter and both said they never wrote the letter and never treated Eberhart.

Hospital representatives also confirmed that the letter was fake and contained several inaccuracies, including about the hospital’s official name and logo.

The two doctors named in the letter also never worked at their hospital, authorities said.

An investigation by Bucks County detectives revealed that the letter was clearly written using a computer, as it contained a logo as well as digitally created headers, footers and margins.

Additionally, the investigation revealed that Eberhart emailed the false letter to his attorney, who in turn submitted the letter to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.

The victims’ families have come forward with statements about the impact Eberhart’s deception has had on them, not only financially, but emotionally as well.

Both families knew and trusted Eberhart before she was hired to work as a caregiver for their elderly mothers.

During their brief time working for the families, they grew fond of her. One family said they had mourned Eberhart and offered her flowers and condolences when she told them of her mother’s death, but this was another of her shameful lies.

These cases were investigated by detectives from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, Newtown Township Police Department and Warminster Township Police Department.

Eberhart’s mother was in court Wednesday.

“Shannon’s actions are unforgivable,” one victim said. “These pieces of jewelry tell the story of my family, past and present, and can never be replaced.”

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