A mother of six is under investigation by Australian police after she apparently fooled dozens of generous strangers on Facebook, and even her boyfriend, into believing she had cancer and needed expensive medical treatments. The Daily Telegraph broke the story of her unraveling hoax, which reportedly netted her thousands of dollars, this week.
Elizabeth Edmunds, 31, who went by "Elle" online, shaved her head and posted elaborate Facebook updates about her chemotherapy and battle with ovarian cancer. She caught the attention of a woman named Jessica McKay, who says she sympathized with Elle because of cancer in her own family.
McKay helped run a Facebook fundraiser page and dropped off donation tins at local businesses. She now says Edmunds is "evil," and told donors they can either have their money back or pass it on to sick kids at Westmead Children's Hospital.
A GoFundMe page for Elle raised $2,000 before it was taken down, and a charity gave her $500 back in September. It's not clear how much was donated directly to the bank account she posted on Facebook.
"People like this in my opinion deserve a jail term," McKay wrote on the Help for Elle page.
Even Edmunds' own partner was shocked to learn of her deception.
"How much can a man take the moment doctors and cops take the person you love and trusted away from you to be told she has NEVER HAD CANCER," John Heagney wrote, "This is no dream am I that blind and stupid OH MY GOD."
Police are investigating the alleged scam, but Edmunds has yet to be arrested or charged with fraud.