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"Despicable!" Melbourne woman who faked cancer jailed for scamming $40K

12 April 2018

In 2013, Hanna told her farmer parents, from Victoria's Swan Hill, that she had been diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, and that she was not responding to treatment and both Peter MacCallum and Epworth hospitals.

Hanna Dickenson, a 24-year-old Australian woman, duped her family and accepted an amount of about A$40,000 (31,000 USD) after telling them that she was suffering from terminal cancer and required medical treatment overseas. The money her parents provided for her treatment was used by Dickenson to party with friends, abuse alcohol and drugs and go on overseas holidays.

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. The judge, upon hearing this case, called the crime "despicable".

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She has now pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining property by deception.

"The court must rightly deter others from engaging in this sort of conduct, taking advantage of people willing to assist and advance moneys to support somebody in what is perceived to be very tragic or dire consequences", Starvaggi said. Another person gave money on four separate occasions.

Photographs Dickenson posted to her Facebook page led one of the scam's donors to voice suspicions to the police that things weren't on the up-and-up. "These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets", he added.

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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, argued that her client should be spared jail because she had turned her life around' and said that they would likely appeal the sentence.

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