I’ll admit I’m not really well-versed in Australian laws but here in the good ole US of A, it would be pretty ridiculous to plead guilty to theft by GoFundMe if you definitely had the cancer you claimed to have. I’m also pretty sure Australians get that free socialist healthcare conservatives here in America are always bitching about, but again, I’m not an Australiaphile by any stretch of the imagination.
The Courier-Mail reports on this apparent case of misuse of funds:
A man who claimed he was dying from pancreatic cancer pleaded guilty to fraud after he raised $10,000 in donations from an online fundraising page.
Brisbane man Diakko Santaali was the subject of a GoFundMe page, set up in November, that pleaded for people to donate $80,000 to help pay his medical costs.
“I’m begging money from people, I have cancer and I’m dying, I don’t know what to say. I am at a point where I really need help,” he said at the time.
Santaali claimed the page, titled “Help Diakko’s hard life with cancer, by Diakko Santaali”, was set up by a friend and it was several days before he was made aware of its existence.
But the 21-year-old claimed the $10,550 in donations raised during the month the page was active.
Unfortunately, the GoFundMe page is long gone, nor were we able to salvage a trashed copy from the Google cache garbage can. We did, however, find this:
Santaali pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly obtaining a sum of money. Police claim he used the money not for cancer treatment but day-to-day expenses such as rent and groceries.
“[Coworkers] helped me because they wanted me … to go and rest and I did and I spent that money resting and that’s why I was charged,” he told the Courier-Mail. “I wasn’t upset about it because at that time I needed money but after that I started working harder and harder and I just got a lot of money.”
If his story is to be believed, aren’t we completely splitting hairs here? I have absolutely no issue with an actual cancer patient using funds raised due to their diagnosis for things like rent and food. I do have an issue with someone pretending to have cancer and then using that money for rent, food, and a PlayStation 4 or something.
Unfortunately the Courier-Mail makes no mention of actual doctor’s notes, which I’d think would be appropriate evidence in this case. Again, I have no idea how Australian law works so maybe they just don’t give half a shit.