Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Cancer Fraudster Walks Free

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Cancer Fraudster Walks Free

Article excerpt

Byline: Liana Turner

LESS than an hour after being sentenced to prison for her lengthy cancer fraud, Melissa Quinn was walking free on bail.

The Casino woman who faked multiple bouts of brain, leg and ovarian cancer between 2014 and 2016, sat in silence as Magistrate David Heilpern handed down the sentence at Casino Local Court yesterday.

Mr Heilpern sentenced her to two years' prison, with a nine month non-parole period, for her four charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and making and using a fake doctor's letter.

For her other two charges of making and using a false document for financial advantage - relating to a fake doctor's email - she was given a three-year good behaviour bond.

But defence barrister Simon Priestley quickly launched an appeal against the sentence, and Quinn was released on conditional bail.

She is expected to front Lismore District Court for an appeal hearing, with a date yet to be set.

In sentencing her, Mr Heilpern took into account Quinn's early guilty pleas, and the hardship imprisonment would have on her four children and acknowledged her mental health issues.

But he rejected Mr Priestley's argument Quinn could reasonably serve a non-custodial sentence.

He said despite the large amount of money raised through various events from 2014 to 2016, Casino was a "financially challenged community" and said Quinn's actions, which took advantage of their generosity, were "mind-boggling".

"This was all a lie," Mr Heilpern said.

"She used the money to holiday in the United States.

"The offender told lies to the psychologist, that she had treatment in the United States."

He said her actions were "pre-planned, ongoing and deliberate" and amounted to a "crime of greed, not need". …

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