Former LA resident charged in scam

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By Tris DeRoma

Say what you want about former Los Alamos resident Elizabeth Bateman, she was really good at her job; and that job was allegedly fooling people into believing she had cancer.

According to an arrest warrant obtained from the Steamboat Springs, Colo. Police Department, Bateman, 34, went to great lengths trying to convince people she had cancer, including such details as shaving her head, taking saline solution injections and using a wheelchair and an oxygen tank as visual props to convince people.  

Bateman first came to the attention of Steamboat Springs Police when a former friend, Michelle Beck, and an anonymous tip alerted police that Bateman was now using her fake battle with cancer to scam people out of thousands of dollars through a charity she set up called “Friends Through the Fight.” 

By the time police caught up to her, they estimated she raised anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 through the bogus charity. Most of those funds were used to fund Bateman’s vacations and day trips.

“Eventually, it was discovered that Bateman’s organization did not exist, she did not have cancer and she was fraudulently presenting herself as a cancer patient in order to raise money for a fictitious organization and she was then utilizing the funds for her personal gain and benefit,” according to a statement in the warrant.

In 2012, Bateman asked Beck and her husband if she could move in with them. During this time, Bateman shaved her head, used a wheelchair to get around and had Beck inject her every six hours with “morphine,” which she later learned was nothing more than a harmless, saline solution. 

At the very height of the ruse, Bateman recruited the Becks to help her organize a fundraiser in March 2012 for her organization at a local restaurant in Steamboat Springs. At that event, more than 50 people attended and $7,000 was raised. The Beck’s themselves wrote a $2,000 check to the organization, according to the warrant.

Things began to unravel for Bateman when the Becks noticed that every time they took her to the emergency room at Bateman’s request, Bateman would somehow leave before staff could get around to helping her. 

In March of this year, she called Beck and told her she was vomiting blood and she needed to go to the hospital. While at the Yampa Valley Medical Center, she told the medical staff that she was dying of cancer and received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. 

When the staff could find no record of treatment, Bateman got up out her bed and fled the hospital.

About two days after the event, Bateman tried to overdose on Benadryl and a day after that, she confessed on her Facebook page that she had made up the story about having cancer.

Bateman then apparently moved in with her father, who lives in Albuquerque. Shortly after, detectives in Colorado Springs received a letter from Bateman’s brother Jeffery detailing where she was and that she was currently ‘leeching off my dad again.’ He further stated that he wanted to see his sister prosecuted because that was the only way she could get help.

After an examination of financial records related to the case, detectives with the Steamboat Springs Police eventually filed for a warrant, charging her with the crime of theft, a class 4 felony in the State of Colorado.

At the urging of her father, she recently turned herself in to the Steamboat Springs Police Department, which was just as well, according to SSPD Det. David Kleiber. According to Kleiber she would not talk to him, so he talked to her dad instead.

“He assured me that he would get her back to Steamboat and have her turn herself in,” he said. “Even though a large dollar amount wasn’t involved in this crime it was going be something we were going to extradite on. Her options were she can come up and turn herself in, or we would have New Mexico law enforcement arrest her and she could come here through that means.”

When she showed up, she bonded out on a $10,000 bond. She is presently awaiting her first appearance in court, where she will be formally read the charges.