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Hanna Dickenson

Hanna Dickenson

Hanna Dickenson outside court

Hanna Dickenson outside court

Hanna Dickenson is a resident of Melbourne, Australia. In April 2018, she was sentenced to three months in jail after pretending to have cancer and swindling A$42,000 (£22,000; $31,000) from donors to fund her partying lifestyle. [1]

Personal Life

Hanna Dickenson's parents run a pistachio farm in Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia. [1]

Career

Hanna Dickenson works as a real estate agent.

Cancer Fraud

Hanna Dickenson with a friend

Hanna Dickenson with a friend

Hanna Dickenson with friends

Hanna Dickenson with friends

Hanna Dickenson's fraud began in 2013 when she was 19 and leading a party lifestyle spending heavily on drugs and alcohol.

She lied to her parents telling them she was gravely ill with suffering from leiomyosarcoma, not responding to treatment at the Epworth Hospital and Peter MacCallum hospitals and needed money for overseas trips for treatment. [1]

Dickenson told her parents that without treatment in Thailand and New Zealand's she would die within months, according to a summary released by Melbourne Magistrates Court. [1]

She’d been hoping they would give money, but they were struggling farmers with financial problems, so they turned to their friends for help.

All in all, they managed to raise A$41,770 for her daughter, believing she would die otherwise.

One of these donors had just been discharged from Peter MacCallum for cancer treatment, and gave more than A$11,000.

The family’s neighbours Nathan and Rachel Cue were also taken in by the scammer’s sad story.

The Swan Hill couple were struggling to fund their own family business at the time, but when the feelings of guilt took over, they took money out of their own mortgage to pay for the girl’s “treatment”.

Describing the moment she asked them for money, they told A Current Affair: “We are sitting here in the dining room and (the mother) comes over and says Hanna has six weeks to live, she’s in palliative care... we need A$40,000 desperately.” They said she would sometimes visit them and their children at home, occasionally complaining of her ill health. “It’s terrible to think someone could put a front on as one person, and be totally different.”

They ended up sending Dickenson $20,000 in four separate transfers.

She claimed the money was being transferred into the account of a German cancer doctor.

In reality, it was going into Dickenson’s account.

The woman’s social media profiles ended up being the dead giveaway. She publicly documented her drinking and party habits, as well as her trips to Thailand and Europe.

The couple said the moment they realised things weren’t quite right, they went to police.

“I started looking into it, doing my homework.

I spent a fair bit of time and sussing things out, and yeah, 100 per cent scammed.

So that’s when I took it to the police,” said Mr Cue.

Sentencing

Photo of Hanna Dickenson outside court

Photo of Hanna Dickenson outside court

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Hanna Dickenson was sentenced to three months in jail, given a 12-month Community Corrections Order, and ordered to pay her victims restitution by Magistrate David Starvaggi. Dickenson's lawyer said she intends to appeal the decision.

Dickenson had previously pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to seven counts of obtaining property by deception.

Magistrate David Starvaggi described her offence as “despicable”.

“It smacks of a Walter Mitty kind of lifestyle,” he said.

“Ms Dickenson engaged in conduct that tears at the very heart strings of human nature.

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

“I couldn’t think of a worse case to manifest itself needing both specific and general deterrence.”

Defence counsel Bev Lindsay, in calling for her client to be spared jail, argued it was Hanna’s parents who went to the wider community for help, not her.

She said Dickenson had since turned her life around and that a jail term would send her backwards.

The lawyer also drew a comparison with notorious wellness blogger Belle Gibson, who was fined $410,000 in 2017, but not jailed for raising money by faking cancer.

But Mr Starvaggi rejected her arguments, saying her mother only appealed to the wider community because she was unaware of her daughter’s “charade”.

“People’s desire to assist and social trust has been breached.

These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets,” Mr Starvaggi said.

He also rejected the comparison to Gibson, saying the case was different and was dealt with in a different jurisdiction.

References

[1]
Citation Linkwww.smh.com.auThe Sydney Morning Herald: Cancer conwoman jailed after spending treatment money partying overseas
Apr 12, 2018, 6:46 AM
[2]
Citation Linkwww.news.com.auNews.com.au: ‘Despicable’ cancer fraud jailed after swindling her family and friends out of $42k
Apr 12, 2018, 6:48 AM
[3]
Citation Linkdailymail.co.ukDaily Mail: 'Despicable' cancer faker who told her parents she had just months to live before scamming friends and family out of $40,000 and using it to fund her party lifestyle is jailed
Apr 12, 2018, 6:53 AM
[4]
Citation Linkbbc.comBBC News: Australian jailed for 'despicable' fake cancer scam
Apr 12, 2018, 7:21 AM
[5]
Citation Linkpslczsusqkpjf7rp.public.blob.vercel-storage.comPhoto of Hanna Dickenson [1]
Apr 12, 2018, 7:28 AM
[6]
Citation Linkpslczsusqkpjf7rp.public.blob.vercel-storage.comPhoto of Hanna Dickenson outside court [2]
Apr 12, 2018, 7:30 AM
[7]
Citation Linkpslczsusqkpjf7rp.public.blob.vercel-storage.comHanna Dickenson outside court [2]
Apr 12, 2018, 7:30 AM
[8]
Citation Linkpslczsusqkpjf7rp.public.blob.vercel-storage.comHanna Dickenson with a friend [2]
Apr 12, 2018, 7:32 AM
[9]
Citation Linkpslczsusqkpjf7rp.public.blob.vercel-storage.comHanna Dickenson with friends [2]
Apr 12, 2018, 7:32 AM