In movies where the main characters are tasked with conning people out of large amounts of money, the targets in question are usually morally questionable individuals who more or less “deserve” to be robbed. However, the situation becomes decidedly less badass when you’re swindling generous people out of money by pretending to have a serious disease.
24-year-old Australian Hanna Dickenson accepted A$42,000 ($31,000 USD) from friends and family members after telling her parents she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and required overseas treatment. The only issue is, Hanna never actually had cancer, and apparently used the funds to vacation and socialize.
According to BBC, the funds were donated when Hanna’s parents tried to fundraise among friends for their daughter’s “treatments”:
The court was told one person donated A$10,000 ($7,754 USD) to Dickenson after being discharged from hospital following his own cancer treatment. Another person gave money on four separate occasions.
Hanna’s ruse was discovered when one of her donors noticed photos of Dickenson on Facebook and contacted the police.
Dickenson was eventually apprehended and pled guilty to seven charges of obtaining property by deception in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
One judge deemed Hanna’s conduct “despicable, noting that she had “engaged in conduct that tears at the very heartstrings of human nature.”
“People’s desire to assist and social trust has been breached,” the judge continued. “These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets.”
Dickenson has been sentenced to three months in jail, although her lawyer says that she will likely try to appeal the sentence. (Although it sounds like something Dickenson might enjoy, considering it’s free room and board.)