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Australian woman jailed for scamming money by pretending to have cancer
12 April 2018, 01:22 | Melissa Porter
Hanna Dickenson falsely claimed to have cancer a court heard. AGENCIES
Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socialising.
Reflecting on this, you can probably sympathise why Hanna Dickenson's parents rallied around their cancer-stricken daughter, raising thousands of dollars from friends, family and neighbours to cover the cost of life-saving medical treatment overseas.
According to court documents, Dickenson's parents, who run a farm near Swan Hill in Victoria's north-west, were struggling financially and had asked neighbors and friends for money.
"People's desire to assist and social trust has been breached".
"Ms Dickenson engaged in conduct that tears at the very heart strings of human nature", Magistrate David Starvaggi said upon sentencing Hanna, adding that her crime was "despicable".
Now 24, Hanna has faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pleading guilty to seven charges of obtaining property by deception. "These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets", he said.
Dickenson's scam was only discovered when a donor saw pictures of her on Facebook and raised suspicions with the police.
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.
An Australian celebrity blogger, Belle Gibson, was fined around $318,000 in 2017, after falsely claiming to have beaten brain cancer.
Dickenson's lawyer Beverley Lindsay had argued her client should not be jailed since Gibson had received no prison time.
However Mr Starvaggi said the cases were not directly comparable, and that the court needed to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Although Dickenson had paid back NZ$15,000 prior to appearing in court this week, she was sentenced to three months in jail, with a 12-month community corrections order. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.
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