UK

Mom Accused of Faking Cancer to Raise $57,000 in GoFundMe Scam

By Isabel van Brugen

A British woman has been accused of faking cancer to scam donors out of tens of thousands of pounds on the GoFundMe donation platform.

Nicole Elkabbas, 40, who received donations of over $57,000 (£45,000) from the public through a campaign between February and August 2018, has been charged with six counts of fraud, according to Kent Online.

She is accused of accepting the donations “for an illness she allegedly did not have,” Kent Police said.

Elkabbas, who is from Broadstairs, Kent, alleged she needed the money for ovarian cancer treatment. She denied the charges at Canterbury Crown Court on June 11, Kent Online reported.

Elkabbas was given unconditional bail by Judge Mark Weekes, and her trial is set for Jan. 27, 2020, at the same location.

The 40-year-old was charged by police on April 5, with a spokesman cited by MailOnline saying: “Nicole Elkabbas is charged with six counts of fraud following an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

“She is alleged to have falsely claimed to have required treatment for cancer in order to receive donations from members of the public, between February and August 2018.”

She shared a photo of herself on her GoFundMe campaign page that shows her lying in bed covered in blankets, her head propped up with pillows, and she appears to be asleep.

In the same photo, a white band can also be seen on her right wrist, and appears similar to bands worn by hospital patients.

Indictment in ‘Good Samaritan’ GoFundMe Scam

In related news, a New Jersey man was indicted last month on six separate conspiracy and theft charges after he was accused of conspiring to defraud donors in a fake GoFundMe campaign, which netted more than $400,000 from donors.

In connection with a fraudulent “Good Samaritan” scheme, Mark D’Amico, 39, was indicted on May 9, prosecutors said, on multiple charges including theft by deception, conspiracy, and computer and financial crimes.

Investigators have alleged D’Amico, together with his then-girlfriend Kate McClure and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, conspired to fabricate a story that defrauded more than 14,000 donors.

The fraudulent GoFundMe scheme, which went viral, claimed that two years ago, Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas in Philadelphia.

The “Paying It Forward” campaign asked for donations saying the couple wanted to help Bobbitt get back on his feet.

The couple reportedly used the funds to purchase luxury handbags, a BMW, and went on trips, including to casinos across the United States, according to court documents, reported CNN.

Bobbitt, 36, appeared in Superior Court in Mount Holly, where he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced in April to special probation and ordered to enroll in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced D’Amico’s indictment, according to Fox.

In April, 29-year-old McClure also pleaded guilty to theft by deception, and faces up to four years in state prison.

D’Amico is the last of the three to face charges connected with the scam.

“In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release quoted by CNN. “D’Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors.”