Benefits to raise money for a Lone Rock woman who claimed for over a year that she had cancer are being investigated by authorities at the state, county and local levels.
Theresa Strub, 29, who has prior convictions for theft, received thousands of dollars last year from at least three fundraisers after she said she was diagnosed with stomach and kidney cancer, according to the communication director of a fundraising website and the manager of a restaurant that hosted a fundraiser.
Investigators from the state Department of Criminal Investigation, the Sauk and Richland County sheriff’s departments and the Spring Green Police Department are asking anyone who has donated money or items to Strub’s case to fill out a questionnaire that asks, “If you had known that Theresa S. Strub’s cancer claims were false/misleading, would you have donated the money/item?”
Law enforcement officials from Sauk, Richland County and Spring Green would not comment Friday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Strub could not be reached for comment. Her mother, Tina Kanable, of Spring Green, declined to comment.
The biggest benefit for Strub was held Nov. 2 at Arthur’s Supper Club in Spring Green, which about 150 people attended, according to Arthur’s chef, Johnny Harrison. He said he didn’t know how much money was raised. Restaurant manager Jenny Coppernol said she did not want to comment.
The Culver’s restaurant in Spring Green raised $2,900 for Strub last July, according to general manager Marissa Aron. She said Strub was free to use the money as she wished.
Also, $980 was raised last year on a fundraising website called giveforward.com. The money was raised for Strub to offset the costs of chemotherapy and radiation, according to the website.
The website included a photo of Theresa taking a selfie as she stood in front of a mirror wearing a cap covering what appeared to be her bald head. Another photo showed her hair on the floor. Losing hair is a side effect of chemotherapy for many cancer patients.
Giveforward.com was not aware of any criminal investigations of its fundraiser, though it was listed as one of the fundraisers on the questionnaire, according to Nate St. Pierre, director of communications for the website.
The website removed information regarding the Strub fundraiser shortly after learning of the criminal investigation Friday afternoon.
Newspaper accounts prior to the benefit at Arthur’s restaurant said Strub was diagnosed with stage 2 stomach and kidney cancer in February 2013. The reports said she was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation five days a week and taking daily doses of chemotherapy pills while continuing to work.
Culver’s checks out individuals before benefits are held for them, Aron said. She said Strub was a young mother with two children who needed money because her illness forced her to cut down on how much she worked at the Meadows, an assisted living and memory center in Spring Green.
“When we partner with somebody, we know exactly what the situation is,” Aron said. “We were getting medical updates from her mother.”
Aron said authorities told her that Strub was under investigation because she used the money for purposes other than paying medical bills. She said someone contacted police after seeing photos of Strub with one of her daughters at a waterpark that Strub posted on Facebook.
Strub was working full time at the Meadows before taking off work for a substantial period and then returning recently to work a reduced number of hours, according to David Griffin, president of ElderSpan, a Madison-based organization that employs staff and handles operations for the Meadows.
Strub also worked at Arthur’s part time until this week when she was fired, an Arthur’s employee, Lisa Harmon, said.
Strub pleaded guilty to a theft charge in Dane County Circuit Court in 2010 after police said she deposited a check from a church that was inadvertently sent to her Oregon address.
She pleaded guilty to two more theft charges in 2012 after police said she took money from the checking account of an Oregon couple who wrote a check for a Christmas wreath from the 4-H club she was representing. She received probation for each charge.
State Journal reporter Ed Treleven contributed to this report.