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Benson man charged with faking cancer treatments, swindling $60K

Andy Lynn Jaeger

BENSON, Minn. — A Benson man pretended to have cancer, authorities say — and allegedly swindled nearly $60,000 out of a friend, saying he needed money to pay for treatment.

Andy Lynn Jaeger, 51, was charged in October in Swift County District Court with theft by swindle, a felony.

The criminal complaint filed with the charge says Jaeger's friend "did not want to see someone lose a battle to cancer because they could not afford it."

So between January and June 2016, he made 40 payments to Jaeger, ranging from $200 to $3,200.

He had been told that Jaeger needed money for cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and for travel expenses to get there.

The man had a notarized "I owe you" letter from Jaeger — stating Jaeger would pay him back the full amount of money, plus an extra $3,000, by Aug. 1, 2016.

But officials at the man's bank were concerned about the amount of money he was giving away, believing he was being scammed. So in June 2016, bank officials reported what was happening to police.

According to the criminal complaint, the man told police he had not seen any paperwork proving Jaeger had cancer, but he did not have any reason not to believe him.

When police told him he may have been scammed, the man became alarmed, and said he wanted to press charges.

A Benson police officer talked to Jaeger on the phone. Jaeger allegedly said he had been using the money to pay medical bills for "some type of" muscle disease.

According to the criminal complaint, Jaeger told the officer that he did not have cancer treatments, but that the hospital was "still testing him." He allegedly added that he was not traveling to or receiving any treatment from the Mayo Clinic, and could not provide proof of or receipts from any other medical treatment.

Jaeger also said that he was planning to pay back the money after a civil lawsuit settlement with a store in Benson, but could not give other information about the lawsuit, other than that he had sued the company after falling inside the store.

But the officer spoke with the owners of the store, according to the criminal complaint, who said there was no lawsuit against them with Jaeger as a plaintiff.

Jaeger's most recent appearance in Swift County District Court was Wednesday. His next hearing is set for April 26.