Cancer fraud jailed over 'despicable' $42k scam of family friends


It heard Dickenson spent much of the money on holidays and socialising.

The court heard Hanna Dickenson was partying hard and needed money to fund a lavish lifestyle of drugs, alcohol and global holidays when she cooked up a scam to convince her parents she had cancer.

Dickenson's parents, who run a farm near Swan Hill in Victoria's north-west, were struggling financially and asked neighbours and friends for money, according to court documents.

The presiding magistrate David Starvaggi said Dickenson's conduct "tears at the very strings of human nature" and described it as "despicable".

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Her parents gave her the money to fund said "treatment".

Dickenson, a real estate agent, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to seven charges of obtaining property by deception, the Herald Sun reported.

"People's desire to assist and social trust has been breached. These are the people who have worked hard and dug into their own pockets".

Dickenson's scam was only discovered when a donor saw pictures of her on Facebook and raised suspicions with the police.

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One of Dickenson's victims had just been discharged from hospital after undergoing his own cancer treatment when he was duped into transferring $10,000 to her for "urgent treatment" in March, 2013, the court heard.

Comparisons were made between Dickenson's crime and that of health blogger Belle Gibson, who was fined $410,000 a year ago after falsely claiming to have survived brain cancer.

Ms Lindsay argued that her client's offending was less severe than Gibson's.

The court said in this case it pronounced the jail term to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

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Ms Lindsay indicated she will appeal the severity of her client's sentence. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.