A mum who faked having cancer and conned well-wishers out of £45,000 has been jailed.
Nicole Elkabbas raked in huge sums of money using a convincing GoFundMe page which even included a picture of her lying in a hospital bed, before splurging the donations on her lavish lifestyle.
The 42-year-old claimed to have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer followed by surgery and round after round of gruelling chemotherapy.
But instead of using the money for the supposed treatments, she splashed out on a box at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club as well as trips to Barcelona and Rome. Devious Elkabbas also spent some of the charitable donations on gambling.
Elkabbas, of Broadstairs, Kent, set up the GoFundMe page to rake in thousands of pounds before funnelling the money into her personal account.
The picture which seemed to show her stricken in bed from her cancer treatment was actually an old image from a previous operation to remove her gallbladder.
She was jailed for two years and nine months at Canterbury Crown Court after being convicted of fraud by false representation and possession of criminal property.
Elkabbas had denied the offences, claiming she believed she had cancer and was a gambling addict.
Judge Mark Weekes branded her “deceptive, cunning, and manipulative”.
He added: “You produced detail and at times a graphic account of the treatment you were receiving with a view to keeping those you had snared in your web of lies paying you money.
“You tugged at their heartstrings. You made mention of your child to add to gild the lily still further and to attempt to wring more cash out of those you had deceived.
“All the while, you were gambling, enjoying shopping trips and luxuries in Italy and Spain at their expense.”
He also said Elkabbas’ actions were “insulting to those who must genuinely and courageously face the battle against cancer”.
A fundraising page entitled “Nicole needs our help treatment” was created by Elkabbas. It was made to look like it had been set up by her mum, who she cared for full time.
The page described her as a “beautiful daughter” and “loving mother to her dear 11-year-old son”.
It described the trauma of undergoing three operations and six rounds of chemotherapy leading to now desperately needing money to pay for a breakthrough drug in Spain as the “only way she could be saved”.
Oliver Kirk, defending Elkabbas, said she is a “vulnerable” woman who has a genetic predisposition to ovarian cancer and has had cancer in her family.
He added: “It is quite clear, in my submission, that these offences were committed by a person who was in the grip of a gambling addiction.”
GoFundMe said that all donations have been returned.