Melissa Quinn at Casino Court House.
Melissa Quinn at Casino Court House. Marc Stapelberg

Fake cancer story 'spiralled out of control': Mum

UPDATE 12.20PM: A CASINO woman who faked multiple bouts of cancer for financial gain told police her elaborate web of lies was a story that "continued to grow until it spiralled out of control".

Melissa Irene Quinn, 35, was caught out when a fake doctor's letter raised red flags for a Cricket NSW colleague, but she had already fleeced the organisation and the wider community of more than $47,000 to go towards treatment she never received.

Police allege Quinn spent the cash on a trip to the US, which was purely for travel, rather than the "proton therapy" she claimed was the only hope to battle her "cancerous tumours in the leg and brain".

Quinn, a mother of four, faced Casino Local Court this morning charged with making a false document to obtain financial advantage, using a false document to obtain financial advantage and four counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Defence lawyer Peter Comerford lodged guilty pleas to all six charges.

Police prosecutor Greg Huxtable tendered to the court documents relating to the amounts of money Quinn had obtained through her deception, which spanned from November 21, 2014, to June 6, 2016.

In 2014, Quinn told colleagues and friends she had leg and brain tumours and claimed she was "expected to die within two years".

This sparked a flurry of effort to raise funds to cover a trip to the US for the "proton therapy" treatment which she said was her only hope of tackling the disease.

Casino Returned Servicemen's Memorial Club proceeded to hold a bowling day and a Gofundme online fundraising page was set up to help cover Quinn's fake medical costs, while she spoke to several media outlets to share her fabricated story.

In November that year, Quinn travelled to Los Angeles, later claiming her treatment at the Loma University Medical Centre in California was "a success".

In October, 2015, Quinn began working as the Mid North Coast development manager for Cricket NSW and the following January she told her employer she was suffering from "chronic myeloid leukaemia".

Soon afterwards, she began claiming to have ovarian cancer.

Another fundraiser was held for Quinn at Casino Beef Week in May 2016, and Cricket NSW donated several signed player shirts and bats - as they had for the 2014 bowling day - to help bolster donations, while a colleague chipped in $1000 through the Cricket NSW payroll.

Quinn then emailed Cricket NSW claiming she had scheduled a procedure "to remove tumours from her leg" and it was possible she could "lose her leg or die" from the procedure.

Cricket NSW allowed her to take unlimited sick leave during this time and while she did undergo an operation in June that year, it was not cancer-related.

After the operation, Cricket NSW asked for a doctor's certificate "to ensure she was fit to continue working" and when she presented a forwarded email signed "Dr Krishnan", a staff member questioned the document's authenticity and police were alerted.

Upon being arrested last month, Quinn made "full and frank admissions to lying about all forms of cancer" and told police the lies had gotten "out of control".

Police say Quinn's actions were a "serious breach of community standards" which could have "serious ramifications by causing people to stop contributing to genuine medical fundraisers".

In court this morning, Mr Comerford asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, along with a psychological report.

Magistrate David Heilpern set the matter down for sentencing on June 13.

Mr Heilpern ordered Quinn to immediately surrender her passport and her bail conditions ban her from approaching any international point of departure.


UPDATE 12PM: MELISSA Quinn has pleaded guilty to all six charges.

The court heard that upon being arrested last month by police, Quinn made "full and frank admissions to lying about all forms of cancer" and told officers the lies had gotten "out of control".

More to come.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: CASINO woman Melissa Quinn has arrived at Casino Local Court to face fraud charges.

 

Melissa Quinn at Casino Court House.
Melissa Quinn at Casino Court House. Marc Stapelberg

The 34-year-old was charged with four counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, one count of making false document to obtain financial advantage, and using a false document to obtain financial advantage.

More to come.


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