Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medical | By

Australian jailed for 'despicable' fake cancer scam

Australian jailed for 'despicable' fake cancer scam

But Dickenson repaid their collective 42,000 AUD ($32,552) with years of hard partying, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and overseas vacations - all on their dime.

The court heard that her parents, who run a farm near Swan Hill in Victoria's north-west, had received thousands of dollars from their friends as they were struggling financially.

Hanna Dickenson, then 19, convinced her parents she only had weeks to live and desperately needed money for a lifesaving treatment and for travel to New Zealand and Thailand for special procedures.

One victim of the scam gave her four payments of $5200, while one victim, who was actually a cancer patient himself, gave her $10,500.

It is virtually impossible to fathom how the parents must have felt upon hearing the situation when Hanna pleaded guilty in the Melbourne magistrates' court. It also heard that Dickenson spent that money on holidays and socializing. Dickenson will spend three months in prison, followed by a 12-month community corrections order, and 150 hours of community service, in addition to seeking treatment for both substance abuse and mental health.

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

"There's been a request for financial assistance in circumstances where it had been purported that Ms Dickenson had very few options left", Starvaggi said.

While pronouncing the sentence, Magistrate David Starvaggi said Dickenson had "engaged in conduct that tears the very heartstrings of human nature".

"People's desire to assist and social trust has been breached". Further, she will forfeit her job as property manager at Little Real Estate in Melbourne.

Dickenson's lawyer has protested these consequences, maintaining that while "she has harmed some people", she "didn't ask them directly".

Her lawyer, Beverley Lindsay, argued against jail time, claiming her client had "turned her life around", the BBC reported.

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