EXPOSED: Woman's cancer scam rocks community
THE worst kind of deception is that which is done under the guise of a good cause.
And for three years the generous heart of Bundaberg was deceived by a woman who pretended to be dying from a rare form of cancer - a scam which saw more than $2000 taken from the hands of giving strangers along the way.
Alana Sarah Susan Joy Porter, 27, yesterday pleaded guilty to forgery and uttering and one count of fraud in Bundaberg Magistrates Court.
The court heard just how far Porter had taken her twisted scam, which saw multiple movie and trivia night fundraisers held since 2016 in order to raise money for the treatment of her "terminal cancer".
"(People) believed they were helping," Police prosecutor Senior Constable Grant Klaassen told the court.
Sen Const Klaassen said in October, police were given information about Porter pretending to have cancer so "she ... could deceive people in the community by fundraising events ... to obtain money".
"Further inquiries were made at reading cinema Bundaberg, where the defendants partner was employed," Sen Const Klaassen said.
The former Little Athletics coach admitted to police she never had cancer, after going along with several fundraising events in 2016 and 2017.
"I don't actually have cancer, I never did. I have been living this lie for three years," Porter had told police.
"My partner didn't know at the time, I've been lying to everyone.
"I only took the money from my family, I've spent that money buying presents for the sick kids at the hospital. I'm glad its all over now because its gotten out of hand."
Porter would regularly shave her head to keep up the illusion she was receiving chemotherapy, and would stay at a motel across from a hospital in Brisbane where she claimed to receive treatment.
The kindly donated money was what allegedly paid for the Brisbane motel fees.
She also forged a letter claiming it was from an oncologist, addressed to her husband's employer at Reading Cinemas.
The letter claimed her husband would be experiencing emotional turmoil because of her diagnosis.
Porter's apparent cause caught the eye of Hitz939's breakfast host Tracey Sergiacomi, who thought she was doing a good deed by spreading the word.
At one stage, a meet and greet was organised for Porter with football player Billy Slater "under the illusion she was dying from a rare form of cancer".
"(This is) a serious offence in regards to the way she deceived the community," Sen Const Klaassen said.
"It's a slap in the face for actual cancer patients in the community.
"(As a result) $2500 was raised to assist the defendant with cancer treatment for (cancer) she didn't have."
Defence lawyer Ryan Dwyer described his client's actions as a "prolonged bit of offending".
Mr Dwyer claimed Porter's deception had begun in an attempt to "take everyone's mind" off her sister's personal problems at the time.
It was heard Porter's husband had been "unaware" of her deceptions, but detectives had originally charged him with similar charges.
However, that changed last month when prosecutors dropped the charges against him.
Mr Dwyer said Porter was "remorseful" for her actions and since her arrest had received multiple text messages from angry locals who had become aware of her scam.
Magistrate Ross Woodford said it wasn't the amount of money that was the main concern of the deception, it was "what she has done to the public".
"Two-thousand-five-hundred dollars was raised, but it is insignificant (compared) to what you have done," Magistrate Woodford said.
"You went out of your way, a huge way, to fool people."
Porter was sentenced to six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years.