Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Woman who faked cancer, duped friends and neighbours, jailed for 'despicable' scam

Woman who faked cancer, duped friends and neighbours, jailed for 'despicable' scam

Australian Hanna Dickenson reportedly told her parents that she needed 40,000 Australian dollars, about $31,000 USA dollars, to pay for an overseas cancer treatment. Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socialising.

But her truth was soon uncovered when one of her donors saw her party photos on Facebook, which made him question her claims.

One person reportedly donated over $10,000 to Dickenson, while a couple, who are neighbors of the family, gave her money four separate times.

Magistrate David Starvaggi described her behavior as "despicable".

Now 24, Hanna has faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pleading guilty to seven charges of obtaining property by deception.

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

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"People's conscious desire to assist has been touched. that's the social trust".

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.

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

Ms Lindsay argued that her client's offending was less severe than Gibson's. "She hasn't engaged in this behavior for three years, she's been a model worker ... she's turned her life around, she's proven that".

But the magistrate said he could not think of a "worse case ... needing both specific deterrence and general deterrence". The court also added that Dickenson would lose her job as a property manager for Little Real Estate in Melbourne.

The victims' lawyer, Seny Kamano said that Camara had received the maximum possible sentence for her crimes but the compensation that was awarded was insufficient for the more than 700 women she had tricked.

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