A 29-year-old woman named Toni Standen faked a cancer diagnosis to scam her friends into contributing up to $11,000 for her dream wedding.
Standen went to great lengths to convince everyone that she was sick. She even shaved her head and gave newspaper interviews about her cancer diagnosis.
She had claimed that she only had a short time to live, and that the cancer had spread to her brain, bones, and all over her body.
Friends launched a GoFundMe page to give Standen and her partner James “a wedding they deserve.”
The wedding service was held at St Bede’s Catholic Church in Widnes and was followed by a reception for roughly 150 guests, according to The Mirror.
At the wedding, the couple received some video messages offering them support and congratulations.
One came from Standen’s father, who passed away before the wedding, and another came from Everton FC, and was delivered by one of the top players.
Her friends began to suspect that something might be wrong a short time later when Standen claimed to have the coronavirus.
After discovering the truth, her friends called the scam an “ultimate betrayal”.
Last week, Standen pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. The crimes were alleged to have taken place between February 2019 and April 2020. However, she had been exploiting this scam for several years.
The first documented case of her fraud began in July 2017, when she was interviewed in her local paper saying she had cancer. Then later in March of last year, she gave another interview where she claimed that the cancer was terminal.
Even after the wedding, she continued to spread wild lies about herself. In January of this year, she made a post online saying that she only had two months to live and that her organs were beginning to fail.
Then a month later she claimed to have died.
In February, a post on her Facebook account read, “RIP TONI. Our lovely Toni passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family… strong until the end.”
Standen blamed the post on hackers, but her friends think that she just wanted to see what people would say about her if she died.