Queensland Mother Avoids Jail For Pretending Her Daughter Had Terminal Brain Cancer
An Australian woman has narrowly avoided jail after being caught pretending her daughter had terminal brain cancer.
Renee Jocelyn O'Brien raked in thousands of dollars in a fundraiser set up to help her five-year-old tick off bucket list items, which she ended up pocketing herself.
According to 7News, the 37-year-old lied to her friends, family and unsuspecting people on the internet by saying her eldest child only had months to live.
The donations got close to $9,000 and people also pledged some epic experiences to make the young girl smile.
The woman said her five-year-old had written a bucket list of activities she wanted to do before dying, which included riding in a monster truck, flying in a helicopter and whale watching.
O'Brien's husband even quit his job so that he could spend more time with the girl.
The daughter was told her that she had a medical condition after a growth was found in her brain. However, the girl, nor O'Brien, was never told it was cancer. For whatever reason, the 36-year-old concocted the lie and it snowballed from there.
The mum called 000 on 37 different occasions and told them her daughter was suffering from headaches, chest pains and blurred vision.
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She even started planning her daughter's memorial.
Her plan attracted the attention of authorities, who eventually asked her to provide medical statements proving the cancer was real and that's when the lie was uncovered.
She was arrested in September last year and charged with 11 fraud offences. Yesterday (September 15), O'Brien plead guilty and was ordered to pay back the $8,919.17 that had been raised on GoFundMe.
During the trial, prosecutor Senior Sergeant Carrie Davidson said the mother's lie was driven by greed.
"It's offensive to members of the community who really are struggling with cancer and its effects, and who rely on the assistance the community offers to get them through this tough period in their lives," Sen Sgt Davidson told the court.
"She maintained the lie, and even commenced fabricating a further story that her second daughter was experiencing headaches and telling friends that she too had lymphoma, and even stated to others that she herself had cancer."
O'Brien's behaviour was labelled 'appalling and egregious' when she was handed a nine-month wholly suspended sentence. In addition to having to repay all the money raised for her daughter, O'Brien has been placed on a two year probation and has a conviction recorded.
Featured Image Credit: 9News