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Police: Manchester woman swindled Concord church with fake sob story

Cheryl Lawson, 28, of Manchester, after she faked an obituary for a deceased husband and told the staff at St. Peter's Church in Concord a heartbreaking story about mounting bills and an imminent eviction. 

Courtesy

Cheryl Lawson, 28, of Manchester, after she faked an obituary for a deceased husband and told the staff at St. Peter's Church in Concord a heartbreaking story about mounting bills and an imminent eviction. Courtesy

A Manchester woman received a $200 check from Concord’s Saint Peters Church after telling staff there a heartbreaking – and fake – story about her deceased husband, mounting bills and imminent eviction, according to the police.

Cheryl Lawson swindled a second Concord church with the same story, according to Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley, who said that church has decided to not press charges. O’Malley said 28-year-old Lawson called Saint Peters on June 4 and told staff there that one of her children was about to have surgery, her husband had died a few months prior and her landlord was planning to evict her that day. Lawson, who gave the church a relative’s name, said she needed to raise $400 by the end of the day to keep herself and her four young children off the streets, O’Malley said.

The church attempted to corroborate the story, and Lawson provided documentation including a lease and an obituary for her husband, O’Malley said. When the church agreed to write a $200 check to her landlord, Lawson gave her own name as her landlord’s, O’Malley said.

Within hours of writing the check, staff at the church received a call warning that a woman was attempting to scam nearby churches. O’Malley said the police were able to track down Lawson because the clerk at the bank where she cashed the check wrote down her driver’s license number. The police later found that the documents Lawson showed the church staff were fake, O’Malley said.

Lawson was arrested in late July and charged with theft by deception and identity fraud.

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