A woman has been jailed for faking ovarian cancer and duping people of more than £52,000. The 42-year-old mother, Nicole Elkabbas, set up a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe claiming she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and needs money for the treatment. The money raised by her well-wishers, more than £52,000, was transferred to her own bank account, which she instead spent on gambling and to pay off her lavish lifestyle.
Daily Mail reports that she bought a £3,592 luxury box to watch a single Tottenham Hotspur match. The woman has been jailed for two years and nine months. A jury found her guilty of fraud in relation to false representation of having cancer to receive money for treatment between February and August 2018 and possession of criminal property in relation to the charitable donations.
Judge Mark Weekes said the Elkabbas was 'cunning and manipulating' and 'embarked on a lengthy, involved and sophisticated deception of people.' He told Elkabbas that she was gambling, enjoying shopping trips and luxuries in Italy and Spain at their (her funders') expense.
He also added that cases like that 'create mistrust amongst charitably-minded members of the public' and' promotes skepticism and even cynicism in an area that can ill afford it.'
Elkabbas created a fundraising page titled 'Nicole needs our help treatment' and made it appear like it was set up by her mother. The website described Nicole as a 'beautiful daughter; and loving mother to her dear 11-year-old son.' It also mentioned that trauma of undergoing three operations and six rounds of chemotherapy has led to financial problems and they are unable to pay for a drug in Spain which could be the 'only way she could be saved.'
Prosecutor Ben Irwin said that there has been significant planning and research into cancer and drug treatment to tell detailed lies. The updates on the site included the description of how she was reacting to IP chemo and platelet transfusions and it played with emotions of the viewers by posting pictures with her son. Irwin said that it was 'carefully designed to trick people into giving money.'
While some people paid directly through GoFundMe donations some transferred the amount directly to her bank account.