Woman Sentenced for Faking Terminal Cancer, Scamming Parents, Neighbors Out of Thousands


Her parents had received donations from their friends, a court was told.

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.

She has now pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining property by deception. The judge referred to her actions as "despicable".

Money poured in from friends and the 24-year-old spent most of it on holidays and socialising with friends.

While pronouncing the sentence, Magistrate David Starvaggi said Dickenson had "engaged in conduct that tears the very heartstrings of human nature". "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".

When someone you know is diagnosed with cancer, you'd do - and give -anything to help that person overcome a disease that seems to be more lethal than not. "These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets", he added.

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

The 24-year-old who is a real estate agent was punished to three months in jail and given a 12-month Community Corrections Order under which she will require to do 150 hours of community work and also undergo treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues.

The case has been likened to that of disgraced beauty and wellness blogger Belle Gibson, who built a successful business by claiming natural treatments helped her survive cancer.

Dickenson's attorney, Beverley Lindsay, had earlier urged the magistrate to not send her client to jail.