An Indian-origin woman who admitted to lying to her family and friends about suffering from terminal brain cancer to con them out of over 2,50,000 pounds was sentenced to four years of imprisonment by a UK court on Friday.
In 2013, Jasmin Mistry told her then husband Vijay Katechia that she had cancer, along with a supporting WhatsApp message what he thought was her doctor.
Investigations later revealed that the message had been sent by her using a different SIM card. At the end of December 2014, she told her ex-husband that her severe brain cancer meant she had just six months to live, with further messages from another fictitious doctor suggesting that it could be treated in America — at a cost of around 5,00,000 pounds.
Katechia, his family and members of the public went on to be conned out of money over a two-year period between 2015 and 2017 in the form of donations they thought she needed for life-saving treatments. Mistry’s ex-husband became suspicious when a friend of his saw a picture of a brain scan she had said was taken at one of her consultations.
The plot was finally unravelled after her ex-husband showed a “scan” to a doctor friend, who told him it had been lifted from Google. Katechia also discovered SIM cards Mistry used to send messages pretending to be other people, and when confronting her, she admitted that she had lied.
Police were contacted in November 2017, and Mistry was arrested. During interviews, she confirmed to officers that she was not terminally ill, and that she did not know why she had lied, according to Met Police reports.
It was found that 20 members of her extended family and eight others were found to have given her money. The total fraud amount was calculated as 2,53,122 pounds. The 36-year-old had pleaded guilty to the crime after her arrest last year.
Mistry, a medical secretary from Loughborough town in the Midlands region of England, was convicted of fraud by false representation and jailed for four years at Snaresbrook Crown Court this week. Mistry, described in court as a “pathological liar”, created a fake online account of a fictitious doctor to message her husband and also posted “Stand up to cancer” messages on social media.
“This is a terrible crime. To tell everybody you have cancer and take money from them… It’s an awful situation,” Judge Judith Hughes told Mistry in court.
Investigators found that she had used money she was handed over for treatment by unsuspecting family members, including her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and others on fancy designer handbags.
Mistry also defrauded a man she met through a dating website out of nearly 7,500 pounds, and two members of the public to whom she lied about being a trader who could invest their money, and who gave around 10,000 pounds.
She was charged with one count of fraud by false representation on August 20 and pleaded guilty in October.
First Published: Dec 15, 2018 20:46 IST
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