London: An Indian-origin woman who admitted to lying to her family and friends about suffering from terminal brain cancer to con them out of 250,000 pounds was sentenced to four years in prison by a UK court on Friday.
In 2013, Jasmin Mistry told her then-husband, Vijay Katechia, that she had cancer, along with a supporting WhatsApp message from what he thought was her doctor. Investigations later revealed that the message had been sent by her using a different SIM card.
At the end of December 2014, she told her ex-husband that her severe brain cancer meant she had just six months to live, with further messages from another fictitious doctor suggesting that it could be treated in America – at a cost of around 500,000 pounds.
Ms Mistry’s ex-husband became suspicious when a friend of his saw a picture of a brain scan she had said was taken at one of her consultations. The plot was finally unravelled after her ex-husband showed a “scan” to a doctor friend, who told him it had been lifted from Google.
He also found SIM cards Ms Mistry used to send messages pretending to be other people, and when confronting her she admitted that she had lied. She was arrested in 2017.
During interviews, she confirmed to officers that she was not terminally ill, and that she did not know why she had lied, Met Police said.
It was found that 20 members of her extended family and eight others were found to have given her money. The total fraud amount was calculated as 253,122 pounds.
The 36-year-old had pleaded guilty to the crime after her arrest last year.
Ms Mistry, a medical secretary from Loughborough town in the Midlands region of England, was convicted of fraud by false representation and jailed for four years at Snaresbrook Crown Court this week.
Described in court as a “pathological liar”, she created a fake online account of a fictitious doctor to message her husband and also posted “Stand up to cancer” messages on social media.
“This is a terrible crime. To tell everybody you have cancer and take money from them… It’s an awful situation,” Judge Judith Hughes told Mistry in court.