Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mum 'Caught Up in Lie'; Woman Given Suspended Jail for Fabricating Child Cancer Story

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mum 'Caught Up in Lie'; Woman Given Suspended Jail for Fabricating Child Cancer Story

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Irby ross.irby@qt.com.au

A SHAMED mum has been ordered to repay $7396 she received through a GoFundMe campaign by falsely claiming her daughter had leukaemia.

An Ipswich court this week heard the woman even held a shave for a cure-type event at an Ipswich sports club, raising $3000.

What began as a simple lie to her own mother then grew to "calculated fraud", where she preyed upon the kindness of others.

When the lie was eventually exposed, police charged Billie-Jean Simon with fraud.

By that time, the money had been spent and Simon is yet to begin repaying the money to those who gave so generously.

Simon also owes $178 to Virgin Australia.

Police prosecutor Ricky Tsoi said it was a particularly serious and unique example of fraud in which Simon, a mother-of-three, made up a serious illness about her child for financial gain.

For penalty, police sought a community service work order of 120 hours, or 12-month probation.

Billie-Jean Simon, 25, from Raceview, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to committing fraud of $7396 fraud between March 18, 2017, and July 27, 2017.

Legal Aid lawyer Allana Davie said most of the money came from a Shave for a Cure event.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said that on police facts before her $7396.09 was deposited in a GoFundMe account, with "Nil balance" left on May 26, 2017.

Ms Davie said $4000 raised through the GoFundMe had since been repaid.

Ms Sturgess said 44 people had apparently donated $4005 but there was an additional $7396 outstanding.

"So who is that owed to. Is it tracked?" the magistrate queried.

"That is the difficulty," Mr Tsoi said.

"The account should show who put the money in there," she said.

Ms Davie said Simon had a plan to pay restitution.

She was a full-time mother to three including an 11-week old baby, and had been helping her father who suffers liver cancer.

Ms Davie said Simon's mental health declined around the time of the offending -- a claim that was promptly shot down by the magistrate. …

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