A woman has been jailed after faking illness to raise funds for her dream wedding.
29-year-old Toni Standen from Widnes, UK, was found guilty of faking terminal cancer with the intention of trick people that cared about her into donating money.
As the Crown Prosecution Service revealed, the fraud started taking shape back in 2015 when Standen fooled two of her friends into thinking she was terminally ill.
According to the reports, the woman kept her friends and family updated about her fake condition whereas she even shaved her head to make her story appear more realistic.
Eventually, Standen claimed she only had two months to live and said her final wish was for her dying father to be by her side when she walks down the aisle.
Touched by her story, the 29-year-old’s friends started raising money to help the young woman have the wedding of her dreams which ended up taking place after the death of her sick father.
After getting married following more than $10,000 in donations, Standen left for Turkey where she enjoyed a honeymoon with her husband James. The couple later on reportedly also traveled to several countries in Europe.
Eventually, people started questioning Standen’s condition, prompting the woman to admit her lies and apologize to her loved ones for fooling them into thinking she was ill.
In a recorded call with her friends, the 29-year-old allegedly admitted she has never had cancer. She also admitted her scam in a text to her two closest friends in which she wrote:
“I love you both, I am thankful for everything over the last couple of years. I am very sorry for all of this, I am embarrassed and heartbroken and right now I am struggling.
“There is so much I want to say but struggling where to start. At the minute I don’t know if Jim and I will be getting a divorce, I don’t blame him if he does and I don’t blame you both if this is the end, I completely understand and will have to somehow move on through it.”
Now, years after her scam kicked off, Standen has been sentenced to five months in prison. She was also ordered to repay nearly $3,000 to a local entrepreneur who made a huge donation after hearing about her story.
“You continued to embellish that tissue of lies, saying you had weeks to live. I don’t accept you couldn’t stop. Not only did you not stop, you made it worse by giving newspaper interviews to engender public sympathy,” Judge Sanders said during the sentencing.
“You used that money raised through the generosity of strangers to fund a wedding and a holiday. You kept taking money over many months. Every right thinking member of society would be appalled by your behavior.”
After the case came to an end, Prosecutor Neil Colville added:
“Toni Standen made up a terminal illness to gain sympathy and then watched as her friends raised money to support her through what they thought were her final years.
“She used that money to fund a wedding and a holiday. Her own father was genuinely ill but her condition was a fraud.
“She appears to have dug herself deeper and deeper into the deception as the years went by and seemed incapable of telling the truth and bringing the deception to an end.”