Kristen Clougherty

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Kristen Clougherty
Kristin Clougherty, raising fund to fight cancer.
Kristin Clougherty, raising fund to fight cancer.
Born 1975
Nationality USA
Known for cancer hoaxster

Kristen Clougherty was an American women who pretended to be cancer victim.[1] Supporters organized the First Annual Kristen Clougherty 5K Run/Walk to raise funds for her.[2] Supporters were reported to have raised $50,000, intended to help pay her medical expenses. Clouherty spent the funds on personal items and services, including a new car, liposuction and artificial breasts.

Clougherty maintained her charade for two years, before the Police got an anonymous tip she had lied about being a cancer victim.[3][4] She even went so far as shaving he head so she could claim she lost her hair due to cancer therapy.

Clougherty underwent a psychiatric evaluation before she stood trial.[5]

She was sentenced on November 1, 2000, with the judge calling her crime "breathtaking in its callousness".[3] She received a suspended sentence of two years.[6] She has to repay all the funds and undergo 300 hours of community service.

On May 24, 2001, Clougherty was arrested for serving as the getaway driver in an armed robbery.[7]

In her 2020 text book on ethics in Journalism, A New Approach to Journalism, Alexandra Kitty used Clougherty and another cancer hoaxster, Ashley Kirilow as examples of the failure of journalists who reported on them, prior to suspicions being made public.[8] With regard to Clougherty Kitty observed: "Had anyone covering the event asked to speak to her oncologist, they would have had a clue that what she was presenting was not the truth."


  1. Alexandra Kitty. "Don't Believe It!: How Lies Becomes News". Archived from the original on 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2013-05. 
  2. "Cancer Fundraiser A Hoax, Officials Say". Boston: Chicago Tribune. 1999-09-22. Retrieved 2013-06-12. "A woman claiming to have ovarian cancer raised thousands of dollars for cancer research and then used the money to buy herself a car and have liposuction, prosecutors said Tuesday." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Woman who faked cancer sentenced". United Press International (Boston, MA). 2000-11-01. Retrieved 2020-12-24. 
  4. "Kristen Clougherty's Cancer Fraud". Duke University Museum of Hoaxes. Retrieved 2020-12-24. 
  5. Jim Smith. "South Boston woman who claimed cancer is indicted". Irish Echo (Boston, MA). Archived from the original on 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2020-12-24. "Among those who befriended Clougherty and helped to organize the June fund-raiser in Dorchester was State Rep. Martin Walsh, who is himself a cancer survivor. He told the Echo last Friday that he and most people in South Boston and Dorchester have little sympathy for Clougherty." 
  6. "Woman Fakes Cancer for Cash, Gets Probation". Los Angeles Times (Boston, MA). 2000-11-02. Archived from the original on 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2020-12-24. "A woman who pretended to have cancer and bilked friends, neighbors and family members out of more than $43,000 was sentenced to two years’ probation. Kristen Clougherty, 25, pleaded guilty to larceny and was ordered to repay the money and perform 300 hours of community service." 
  7. "Woman who faked cancer arrested". Associated Press (Quincy, MA). 2001-95-24. Archived from the original on 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2020-12-24. "Clougherty allegedly drove the getaway car in the February 2000 robbery on Quincy Shore Drive, during which a station attendant was hit with a tire iron, police said." 
  8. Alexandra Kitty (2020). A New Approach to Journalism. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 9781527556072. Retrieved 2023-01-12.