A man who for six years pretended to be dying of cancer - even shaving his head and faking seizures - got 14 months in prison Thursday for conning money and sympathy from his family, church and employer.
Charles Barry, 51, was also ordered to repay nearly $43,000 to his victims and perform 200 hours of community service.
The former car salesman claimed to have kidney, lung and prostate cancer. His former wife and three stepsons believed him, as did most of his fellow residents of Canterbury, a town of about 1,700 in central New Hampshire.
To convince people, Barry shaved his head, talked about how awful chemotherapy was and dropped red dye in his toilet to make it appear there was blood in his urine. He also faked seizures, sometimes slamming his head into walls to make the episodes look realistic, said Arnold Huftalen, a federal prosecutor.
“He’s a con man, a convicted liar who will be locked up in a cage for the next year, and that’s where he belongs,” Huftalen said.
Barry pleaded guilty in May to fraud and got the maximum sentence from U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres, who said that in addition to playing with people’s emotions, Barry accepted donations that might otherwise have gone to those truly in need.
The charge arose from Barry’s acceptance of checks from his employer, Grappone Auto Junction in Concord, which paid him a full salary after Barry went on a part-time schedule because of his supposed illness.