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A 24-year-old has been sentenced to jail for fraud after pretending to have cancer, according to a report by Newsweek. Australian Hanna Dickenson reportedly told her parents that she needed 40,000 Australian dollars, about $31,000 U.S. dollars, to pay for an overseas cancer treatment. Dickenson never had the disease.
According to the Australian news site news.com.au, Dickenson was 19 when she first lied to her parents, saying that she had six months to live and was in palliative care. Since her parents are struggling farmers, they asked friends and neighbors to raise the money Dickenson claimed she needed in order to send her to Germany for her cancer treatment. Altogether they raised AU$41,770, or $32,000 USD. One person reportedly donated over $10,000 to Dickenson, while a couple, who are neighbors of the family, gave her money four separate times.
The couple discovered her plot when they saw photos she had posted on social media of herself drinking, partying, and taking trips to Thailand and Europe. They called the police, who began to investigate. As a result, Dickenson has been sentenced to three months in jail.
As Newsweek points out, this is a case of “malingering,” or when someone fakes an illness for some kind of gain, such as money or attention. In addition to a short amount of jail time, the court also issued Dickenson a 12-month community corrections order, and she is required to pay back all of the donors she scammed.