Mum fakes ovarian cancer and steals £215k from family and friends 'because she wanted to be liked'

September 19, 2018  21:37

A "despicable" mum-of-three who faked having ovarian cancer and stole over £200,000 from sympathetic family members and friends has left her victims in financial ruin.

Kelly Val Smith, who even stole from her own mother, kept up the ruse for eight years before her lies eventually unravelled and she was found out.

The 40-year-old's supporters - including her stepmother-in-law - gave her the cash her thinking they were helping her battle the deadly disease and stay alive.

The fraudster, who "wanted to feel liked and appreciated by all," kept her sickening lie going by using Facebook to regularly check into what she claimed were doctors' appointments.

She took the money after telling relatives she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Some of her victims told a court on Monday that they can no longer pay their mortgages or utility bills after giving her thousands to her.

In July, Smith, from Port Adelaide, Australia, admitted stealing $400,000 AUD (£215,000), just weeks before she was due to stand trial on fraud charges.

Smith will be sentenced next month for her eight-year campaign of lies and theft (Image: 7 News)

She had pleaded guilty to four counts of deception and one count of dishonest dealing with documents between 2007 and 2015 after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

She has been in custody since she was arrested three months ago.

Smith wept as the court heard how she had stolen from her own mum's pension payments and superannuation fund, racked up credit card debt, and lied to her children about having cancer, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Her stepmother-in-law, Michelle Ingley-Smith, told the South Australian District Court that Smith's deceit had torn the family apart.

She said Smith's actions were "despicable" and she preyed on her loved ones.

She told Smith: "You took advantage of our kind and generous nature.

"Your lies and promises to anyone that would listen maintained an 'us against them' approach'."

She added: "You were discrediting me, telling others you had already paid me $1.9 million but I was seeking more."

Theresa Whitehorn, a lifelong friend, said she loaned $12,000 AUD (£6,500) to Smith, but then struggled to pay her own bills and repayments.

She asked Smith to repay the money, but the mum and her husband became abusive, lied and avoided her.

Ms Whitehorn said: "At times, they would tell me that they had transferred monies into my account, paid bills directly for me and even escalating their stories to deter me.

"Only for me to find out my power had been cut off and the monies never appeared in my bank account."

In a letter of apology read to the court, Smith said she accepts responsibility for her actions.

The letter read: "Why did I do it? I wanted to feel liked and appreciated by all."

She was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced in October.

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