A British mom has been charged with fraudulently collecting around $60,000 on GoFundMe by faking ovarian cancer and then blowing off the money on lavish lifestyle including going on extravagant vacations and gambling, authorities said. According to local media outlets, Nicole Elkabbass, 41, duped several innocent people by lying about her illness, who willfully donated to help her.
Elkabbass, who was arrested earlier this year, now faces trial and if proved guilty could end up serving a long term in prison. However, Elkabbass continues to deny the charges. As the trial continues, her defense attorneys are expected to argue that Elkabbass honestly believed she suffered from the disease.
Elkabbass, in order to attract sympathy from others, had made a well-planned move. She first created a page titled, 'Nicole needs our help treatments' on GoFundMe and described herself as a caring mother who had a "beautiful daughter" and a "loving 11-year-old son." She claimed that she needed lots of money to buy medicines and for her treatment.
The alleged fundraiser also had a photograph of Elkabbass, where she looked extremely frail. According to prosecutors, the photograph was taken sometime in 2017 after Elkabbass had undergone a surgery to remove her gallbladder. "Well, members of the jury, simply put, these were lies," prosecutor Ben Irwin said.
Prosecutors said that the photograph where she looks weak and frail duped most people, who willingly started contributing for her medical treatment. Elkabbass continued with this for months and managed to raise over $60,000 till she was busted.
Money Spent on Lavish Lifestyle
According to prosecutors, neither was Elkabbass suffering from cancer nor did she require the money for her treatment. In fact she blew off the money on lavish lifestyle. "The money she received was in fact for a variety of things – lots went on gambling, lots went on travel, lots went on Tottenham Hotspur tickets," said Irwin, referring to the English soccer club.
In fact, on one occasion she spent a whopping $5,000 on tickets to watch a North London team match. Elkabbass continued with her scam between February 5 and August 9, 2018, and raised $60,130 from the fundraiser. However, she was then busted.
Authorities didn't tell how they managed to arrest Elkabbass, who now is facing fraud and possession of criminal property charges, which she denies. However, she continues to deny the charges and will plead not guilty in court.