Australian woman jailed for scamming money by pretending to have cancer

Australian woman jailed for scamming money by pretending to have cancer

Nathan and Rachel Cue, long-time neighbors and friends of Dickenson's parents, took tens of thousands from their mortgage despite a struggling family business in a desperate attempt to save Hanna's life.

Hanna Dickenson, a 24-year-old Australian woman, duped her family and accepted an amount of about A$40,000 (31,000 USD) after telling them that she was suffering from terminal cancer and required medical treatment overseas.

Dickenson told her parents that she had been diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a cancer that develops in soft tissue like blood vessels, muscle, and fat. It heard Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socialising.

A judge called Dickenson's actions "despicable", reported BBC.

One of Dickenson's benefactors was himself a cancer victim, and reached into his pockets to give her $10,000 after he was discharged from the hospital.

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

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Dickenson's scam was only discovered when a donor saw pictures of her on Facebook and raised suspicions with the police.

"The court must rightly deter others from engaging in this sort of conduct, taking advantage of people willing to assist and advance moneys to support somebody in what is perceived to be very tragic or dire consequences", Starvaggi said.

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

The 24-year-old was sentenced to three months in jail and an additional 12-month community corrections order, which will require her to do 150 hours of community work and also undergo treatment for mental health issues and substance abuse.

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

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