A young woman is being charged with fraud because she led a bunch of people online into thinking that she had cancer and solicited them into giving her money via a crowdfunding campaign. The only problem: she wasn't actually ill.
I know that times are tough for some people. And whenever I get those calls from people overseas and in countries where money, opportunity, food, and resources aren't as plentiful as other industrialized nations, I almost feel bad.
I say almost because as crappy as they may have it, I just can't get around to feeling too sorry for someone who has to resort to putting tons of effort into duping old ladies into handing over their life savings because of an IRS or Microsoft virus scam.
It also doesn't help that some of the scammers are actually really, really aggressive and oftentimes shamelessly "proud" of the easy money they dupe people into giving them. Which is why it's always oh so satisfying whenever they get a taste of their own medicine.
Plus, it seems like they're putting a ton of effort and resources into coordinating these scams and you would think that it would make more sense to invest their time into offering, oh, I don't know, actually useful services like learning to code or program. I mean you're on a computer all day anyway, and those skills are in-demand.
And just like the phone scammers who go to some dastardly lengths to make a buck, Lucy Wieland went online to hoodwink people out of their hard-earned dollars by pretending to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Behold her Instagram photos.
Lucy claimed she was diagnosed with stage five ovarian cancer and was arrested after detectives were tipped off that she was using her fake illness for monetary gain. She was released on bail after appearing in court on fraud charges.
If Wieland is indeed scamming people, then she's going through some extreme lengths to do so. Not only did she stage photos of herself looking sickly and bedridden, she even started a blog chronicling her journey in "battling" the disease.
A detective who is working the case spoke to reporters about the charges against Lucy, stating that the real victims are the individuals who were tricked into giving Lucy money.
"It's always very concerning when people use the emotions of others to try and obtain money for themselves."
Her dedication to the "role," if it is indeed a role, is pretty admirable. Here she is, in an Instagram video, getting her hair buzzed on camera. There's even a generic reminder note for her to "take her vitamins and meds," that seem a little conveniently placed for the camera.
Now maybe I'm just thinking that because she's been accused of faking her ovarian cancer, but she's since removed the GoFundMe page along with the blog she put up detailing her struggle with ovarian cancer.
Officials who are investigating the alleged crime want to speak to individuals who may have forked over money to Lucy to help with her "cancer treatments." Probably to build a case and discover whether or not people actually thought she had cancer or were trying to donate to some elaborate piece of "performance art" for cancer awareness.
She's set to appear in court again on December 13 — and in Australia, the punishments for fraud vary depending on the type of specific offense that was perpetrated, so if found guilty, Lucy's sentence will be contingent upon the definition of fraud her crime falls under.
In this instance, it seems hard to define. People willingly donated to her, it's not like she sold them a service and didn't deliver or outright stole money from their bank accounts. Her IG account does still mention "Ovarian Cancer Awareness" in the description, however, which leaves me with a few postulations as to what her defense would be.
Like certain other people who sell lies for money, I would chalk the whole thing up as being a type of "performance art," personally, to try and raise awareness for ovarian cancer and what people afflicted with the condition go through on a daily basis.
The compensation I received would be akin to what an actor or any other type of performer who "acted out" having the illness would receive. Like, are people getting on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's case for 50/50? I don't think so.
In all seriousness though, this is a terrible defense and if Lucy is guilty, she should just fess up to it and give everyone's money back, granted that she didn't spend it all on pink canes and medical equipment.
Seriously, if you look at her photos, hardly any of them are in a hospital and they're all easily staged. She does have a few with some tubes coming out of her arms, but most of her posts are pretty vague and don't go into the nitty gritty specifics of ovarian cancer.
As deplorable as her alleged actions seem, this isn't the first time someone created a fake fundraiser in order to get some money. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy there were a ton of different campaigns that were created by people who just outright stole money to line their own pockets.
So, in other news that isn't really news, people suck.