20 Apr 2015

Fake cancer appeal leads to tighter vetting

6:06 pm on 20 April 2015

The popular crowd-funding donations website Givealittle is improving its vetting processes after a woman faked cancer and raised thousands of dollars.

The South Auckland woman, 23, made a brief appearance in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday wearing a wig. She was granted name suppression.

She pleaded guilty to five charges of obtaining by deception.

Three of those charges relate to her Givealittle page, where she claimed she had terminal cancer and managed to raise almost $14,000 from about 200 donors, including family.

The other two charges relate to other instances of fraud, one involving the lease of a car and the other to more than $4000 worth of whiteware products.

Psychiatry reports are being gathered ahead of her sentencing on 16 July.

The Givealittle website is owned by the Spark Foundation and its general manager Lynn Legros said it's the first case of its kind to go before the courts in the website's seven year history.

"The case itself is saddening in terms of there was that deception, but that deception was of people close to the individual concerned so that could have been done in real life and didn't need the internet to do the deception itself."

Ms Legros said the website has since increased transparency around who is creating a fundraising cause and who it is for.