Nicole Elkabbass raised money through crowdfunding with a photo showing her lying in a hospital bed. The British woman pretended to have ovarian cancer and then spent the collected money in casinos and restaurants. She also made expensive trips and bought tickets to Premier League football matches.
Elkabbass is accused of squandering ill-gotten money by “gambling heavily” and spending it on expensive forays.
The woman from Broadstairs, Kent, created a page on GoFundMe posing as a critically ill patient with ovarian cancer. Elkabbass made it appear that her mother had created that page for her “wonderful daughter”.
According to prosecutor Ben Irwin, it was a ruse to raise money – a total of 45,000 pounds – to pay for her luxurious lifestyle. “She didn’t use that money for cancer treatment,” he said in court. The photo in question also dated from an operation two years earlier in which the gallbladder of Elkabbass was removed.
The woman’s former boyfriend, gynecologist Nicholas Humphrey Morris, denied her claims that he had been diagnosed with cancer. In fact, the doctor told the jury that it was Elkabbass herself who had told him she was ill. When he learned that she had set up a crowdfunding page, he suspected malicious intent.
Elkabbass claimed that all donations – there were 39 in all – would be collected through Ramsgate’s Jewish synagogue. But Rabbi Clifford Cohen reportedly stated that he has never heard of her.
The woman is expected to claim in court that she genuinely believed she had the disease. She denies all charges. The lawsuit is still ongoing.