Australian jailed for fake cancer scam

Hanna Dickenson falsely claimed to have cancer a court heard. AGENCIES

Court documents reveal Dickenson told her parents she was ill with leiomyosarcoma receiving treatments at the prestigious Peter McCallum Institute in Melbourne, and the Epworth Hospital as well.

Her parents, who are farmers, could not afford the alleged treatments and asked neighbours and friends to assist. 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. "I spent a fair bit of time and sussing things out and [I was] 100 per cent scammed". She pleaded guilty to seven charges.

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. "It's awful to think someone could put a front on as one person, and be totally different", said the Cues. To fund a lavish lifestyle she prepared a scam to convince her parents she had cancer. In this representational image, a breast cancer patient receives a chemotherapy drip at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in North Carolina, June 17, 2003.

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

"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".

More news: Guardiola charged with improper conduct after Liverpool defeat

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

Dickenson's lawyer, Beverley Lindsay, had earlier urged the magistrate not to jail her client, comparing her offending to that of fake wellness blogger Belle Gibson.

"Yes she has harmed some people ... she didn't ask them directly though", she said.

But the magistrate did not agree. Further, she will forfeit her job as property manager at Little Real Estate in Melbourne.

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