Woman who faked cancer treatment to defraud people of £45,000 will pay back just £5

A judge had described the deception via the use of a crowdfunding website as ‘cunning and manipulative’

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 27 June 2022 15:05 BST
Nicole Elkabbas at Canterbury Crown Court in November 2020
Nicole Elkabbas at Canterbury Crown Court in November 2020 (PA)

A woman who defrauded people of more than £45,000 by claiming she needed to have private cancer treatment has been ordered to repay £5.

Nicole Elkabbas, 44, from Broadstairs in Kent, duped about 700 people into contributing to her crowdfund appeal by telling them she had to have the treatment at a clinic in Spain.

Her consultant oncologist had found Elkabbas’ GoFundMe page – seemingly set up by her mum – just days after examining her and giving her the all-clear for ovarian cancer.

The crowdfund page posted in 2018, titled ‘Nicole Needs Our Help Treatment’, shows a photo of Elkabbas in a hospital bed that was taken after her gall bladder surgery months before.

Police were notified, and officers investigating the case found that the photo was taken in Margate Hospital, and not Spain as Elkabbas had claimed on the website.

Officers contacted the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona, where she claimed to be staying, and the clinic said they had never heard of her. The doctor she claimed to be treating her also did not exist, according to Spanish media.

A court heard that the swindled money was instead spent on holidays, a box at a Tottenham Hotspur match, gambling, and meals at restaurants.

In November, Judge Mark Weekes jailed the mum-of-one for two years and nine months at Canterbury Crown Court.

Elkabbas, who had pleaded not guilty and claimed that she genuinely believed she had cancer, has now been ordered to repay just £5 because she has no financial assets and is unable to repay the victims.

In sentencing, Judge Weekes described Elkabbas’ deception as “cunning and manipulative”.

He also said: “You produced detailed and at times graphic accounts of the treatment you were receiving with a view to keeping those you had snared in your web of lies paying you money.

“All the while, you were gambling, enjoying shopping trips and luxuries in Italy and Spain at their expense.”

A spokesperson for GoFundMe said: “All donations were refunded in 2019 when the misuse allegations were raised.

“Misuse counts for less than one 10th of 1% of all activity on GoFundMe and in the very rare case there is misuse, we refund donations.”

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