Fake Wellness Blogger Fined $410,000 Over Scam Involving Claims Her Non-Existent Brain Cancer was Cured Through Alternative Therapies and Nutrition

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Fake wellness blogger Belle Gibson has been ordered to pay a fine of $410,000 after being found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct earlier this year.

The Federal Court in Melbourne found she misled her readers when she claimed her brain cancer was cured through alternative therapies and nutrition.

It was later revealed she never had the disease.

Ms. Gibson made $420,000 after building a social media empire and releasing The Whole Pantry cookbook and app, based on the claims.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) launched an investigation, and in June 2016 brought a civil case against Ms Gibson and her company Inkerman Road Nominees, which has been shut down.

The court heard Ms. Gibson made false claims about donating a large portion of her profits to charities.

In March, Federal Court Judge Debbie Mortimer upheld “most but not all” of CAV’s allegations against Ms Gibson.

Ms. Gibson has been fined for five separate contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law Act.

The fine includes:

$90,000 for failing to donate proceeds from the sale of The Whole Pantry app, as publicly advertised
$50,000 for failing to donate proceeds from the launch of The Whole Pantry app
$30,000 for failing to donate proceeds from a 2014 Mothers Day event
$90,000 for failing to donate other company profits
$150,000 for failing to donate 100 percent of one week’s app sales to the family of Joshua Schwarz, a boy who had an inoperable brain tumor
Justice Mortimer described the failure to donate to the Schwarz family as the “most serious” contravention of the law.

“Ms. Gibson expressly compared the terrible circumstances of young Joshua to her own, asserting she had the same kind of tumour as he did; a statement which was completely false, ” Justice Mortimer said.

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