Monday, April 18, 2011

Begging Fraudsterinae

High-street wisdom has it that donating to African women gives a bigger bang for the buck, for more of these donations will be spread within the community, benefitting more people. Perhaps this is why so many people were surprised by the latest round of cancer fakers, such as Ashley Kirilow and Jessica Ann Leeder in Ontario, Canada and Dorothy McGurk (more like a bum) in USA.

The list of women who faked cancer is surprisingly large. The best known such case in Toronto is that of Ashley Kirilow (1, 2, 3):


Here’s part of her scam,courtesy of Brendan Kennedy from Toronto Star :

In late 2008, Ashley was treated in hospital for a benign lump in one of her breasts. After that procedure, she began telling people she had breast cancer. She also said she had brain cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer, at various stages and in various combinations. She claimed to have only a few months to live.

In mid-January, Ashley called her father. They had talked only once in the previous four years. She told him she had breast cancer and a brain tumour, and that she needed a bone-marrow transplant or she would be dead within six months. “At this stage I thought this was another story, but I went along,” said an exasperated Kirilow. The next day, Kirilow tried calling his daughter to find out her oncologist’s name, but she wouldn’t answer his calls. After 10 days of trying to reach Ashley, he said he called and left a message on her cellphone saying that if she did not call back he would call the police, tell them she had collapsed and they could knock down the door.

He said Ashley called him back right away and told him: “Stay the f--- out of my life.” Kirilow did not hear from his daughter again for more than a year. In the meantime, Ashley’s father and stepmother called the hospitals where Ashley said she had been treated for cancer, but they had no record of her. In April 2009, Ashley called her biological mother — with whom she has had little contact since she was 14 — to say she had cancer and needed money for chemotherapy. “The only thing she ever wanted from me was money, and I couldn’t ever give it to her,” said Cindy Edwards, a former school bus driver who now lives in Brantford. Edwards said she told Ashley that chemo was fully covered in Canada and she could not give her any money. “I was crying, I didn’t know what was going on, I tried to tell her she was beautiful,” Edwards said, adding that Ashley responded: “Well, I’m just calling right now to tell you, before I die, that you’re the worst mother in the world.”

When Adam Catley, 22, heard Ashley was broke, alone and dying of cancer, he found her a place to live rent-free with some of his friends. “Obviously I wanted to do what I could to help her,” Catley said. On Sept. 27, Catley and a group of friends organized a benefit for Ashley at The Queen’s Head, Catley’s father’s pub in downtown Burlington. They charged a $20 cover, bands travelled in from out of town at their own expense, Labatt donated the beer, staff donated all of their tips, and the bar itself donated the night’s profits. Proceeds totalled almost $9,000, Catley said, and he gave the cash to Ashley in an envelope the next day. Photos from the event show Ashley completely hairless, with a scarf around her head. “She’s good, I’ll tell you that,” said Catley. “She had me 100 per cent.”

The other con artist stories are remarkably similar. The difference is that while in the US, one con artist got a prison sentence, here in Ontario both Kirilow and Jessica Ann Leeder avoided jail. There’s an explanation for that:

Pointing to Kirilow's troubled past, which included stretches of institutionalization, the judge said the sentence was meant to put an emphasis on "rehabilitation," and not to be "an instrument for the acting of public vengeance and retribution." Let's hope she pulls through this as well as she did through the fake cancer.

In related news, Erin Calabrese reports in NY Post about Dorothy McGurk, a belly dancer on disability who requested support from her estranged postman hubby:

Despite claims that she couldn't work, rarely left home and rarely socialized because of injuries from a 1996 car accident, Dorothy McGurk, 43, was belly-dancing at home and in Manhattan for hours a day -- and then spending several more hours a day blogging about.

"My belly dancing is the reason why I adore myself so much . . . That comes from hours of dancing and classes . . . It's been a three-and-a-half year journey of realigning my spine (and hardware), body, mind and spirit with belly dancing for me," the 6-foot-tall redhead wrote.

As for African aid, here’s Dambisa Moyo explaining why it generally sucks: [cbc] [ForaTV] [Hoover] [HardTalk] [CSPAN] [Oxford] [China] [TEDx] [wef] [CNBC] [smiley] [TEDxTalks] [Munk1] [Allan Gregg] [Gregg-Collier] [Munk Debates Playlist]

Sources / More info: nyp-Dorothy-McGurk, cbc-kirilow, ts-kirilow, tst-leeder, gm-milton, gm-fakers, wiki-hoaxes, wiki-charity

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting and rest assured that any and all comments are welcome, whether positive or negative, constructive or distructive. Unfortunately, if you comment in this view I might not know about - please use the regular (Desktop) view.
I am using Disqus for commenting, but Blogger is not showing it so your comments may end up not being displayed - tell Google about it!