Australian jailed for 'despicable' fake cancer scam

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Leroy N. Soetoro

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Apr 13, 2018, 3:06:20 PM4/13/18
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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-43720875

An Australian woman who faked having terminal cancer before scamming money
from friends of her family has been jailed for three months.

Hanna Dickenson, 24, accepted A$42,000 (£22,000; $31,000) after telling
her parents that she needed medical treatment overseas.

Her parents had received donations from their friends, a court was told.
It heard Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socialising.

A judge called the scam "despicable".

Dickenson had pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to seven
charges of obtaining property by deception.

In sentencing, magistrate David Starvaggi said Dickenson had "engaged in
conduct that tears at the very heartstrings of human nature".

"People's desire to assist and social trust has been breached. These are
people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets," he said.

Blogger case comparison
The court was told one person donated A$10,000 to Dickenson after being
discharged from hospital following his own cancer treatment. Another
person gave money on four separate occasions.

The ruse was uncovered when another donor raised suspicions with police
after seeing pictures of Dickenson on Facebook.

Dickenson's lawyer, Beverley Lindsay, argued that her client should be
spared jail because she had "turned her life around".

She also compared the deception to one involving an Australian celebrity
blogger, Belle Gibson, who was fined A$410,000 last year after falsely
claiming to have beaten brain cancer.

Ms Lindsay argued that her client's offending was less severe than
Gibson's.

However Mr Starvaggi said the cases were not directly comparable, and that
the court needed to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

Ms Lindsay said her client was likely to appeal the sentence.


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