Australian jailed for fake cancer scam

Cancer treatment
Representational image of cancer treatment Pixabay

A 24-year-old Australian woman, who faked having terminal cancer before scamming money from friends of her family, has been jailed for three months, a media report said.

A judge called the scam "despicable". Hanna Dickenson accepted $31,000 after telling her parents that she needed medical treatment overseas, the BBC reported.

Her parents received donations from their friends, the court was told. Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socializing.

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.

The court was told one person donated $7,750 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, the BBC reported.

An Australian celebrity blogger, Belle Gibson, was fined around $318,000 in 2017, after falsely claiming to have beaten brain cancer.

The court said, in this case, it pronounced the jail term to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.