WALLINGFORD — A local man will not serve jail time in connection with a cancer scam, but was ordered to pay $22,000 restitution to cancer charities, according to a court transcript obtained this week.
Tyler Tomer, 29, of 56 N. Orchard St., was charged in February with first-degree larceny and first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Police began investigating Tomer in May 2015 after a relative said Tomer was “defrauding his family, friends and the public” by collecting money from cancer benefits held on his behalf, according to his arrest warrant. Tomer began by telling his girlfriend he had terminal brain cancer and the two became engaged for a short time while living in Kansas. Once back in Connecticut, Tomer began telling friends and family he had terminal cancer. Several benefits were held for Tomer, including a golf tournament and a pasta dinner. A GoFundMe.com page was also set up. At Sheehan High School, the basketball and baseball teams wore the jersey number of Tomer, an alumnus, on their sleeves.
Relatives and friends also reported driving Tomer to and from a New York hospital for what he told them were cancer treatments. A review of Tomer’s bank account by police showed frequent spending at “fast food restaurants, chain restaurants, bars and various other recreational activity locations.” No deposits or payments were made to hospitals or cancer centers.
Medical records show Tomer was never diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, but was diagnosed with a generalized non-convulsive epilepsy. When confronted with the evidence by police, Tomer admitted fabricating the diagnosis, saying he “needed money” and that “things had gotten out of control,” the warrant said.
Tomer appeared in Meriden Superior Court on Nov. 8. He was granted entry into a supervised diversionary program, which is similar to the accelerated rehabilitation program, but for those with psychiatric disorders. Tomer must comply with a treatment plan. If all conditions of the program are met, the charges can be dismissed.
At Tomer’s hearing in November, his attorney Brittany Paz argued that Tomer is suffering from mental health issues and recognizes the seriousness of the allegations. Assistant State’s Attorney John Lion said that while the charges Tomer faced did not preclude him from entry into the program, he believed the allegations were too serious. Lion said Tomer defrauded the public community of between $22,000 and $25,000, noting he faced up to 40 years in prison.
Judge Sheridan Moore granted the diversionary program for a period of four years. Moore also noted the seriousness of the allegations when making her decision.
“But the court does believe that while most of the actions were done or taken on Mr. Tomer’s behalf, Mr. Tomer did not initiate those actions, but he didn’t stop the actions,” Moore said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “That’s always a big problem for the court. However, the court can see this program being a benefit to the alleged victims here, or the state in general, as well as to Mr. Tomer.”
Moore ordered that Tomer pay a total of $22,000 in restitution to cancer organizations and he must also complete 500 hours of community service at a cancer-related non-profit organization during that time. Tomer and Paz could not be reached for comment.
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