A FRAUDSTER who pretended he was dying of cancer and pocketed charity money for himself has been jailed.
Paul Swann, 46, of Shakespeare Road, Preston, was sentenced for 12 weeks at Preston Magistrates’ Court for defrauding charity money intended for St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall.
Today the Crown Prosecution Service said Swann had “abused the generosity of unsuspecting strangers” and he “deprived crucial funds from legitimate cancer sufferers.”
After lying that he had terminal cancer Swann organised a charity fund raising event which raised £500 for the hospice. He also accepted a cheque for £2,000 from the Professional Footballers Association.
But the fund raising money was not passed on and Swann had never been diagnosed with cancer.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation between March and June and January and June this year at an earlier hearing.
Elliott Taylforth, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “Paul Swann cruelly deceived his family and friends by fabricating a fake terminal illness.
“Once he had gained their sympathy, his deceit escalated as he organised a fund raising event at a local social club, pulling on the heart strings of members of the public to donate their hard earned money to the cause. He pocketing the money plus took a large donation from a charity for his own selfish gain. The offences Swann committed are far from victimless crimes.”
Stephen Greenhalgh, Chief Executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “St Catherine’s Hospice has been left shocked and saddened by the actions of Paul Swann, who has defrauded local people of important funds which were so generously given. As a charity and organisation supporting people who are facing the true reality of life with serious illness, we find the manner of his deception particularly heartless.
“In the current economic climate, the charity is finding it very difficult to raise money to fund our specialised care and support for patients and their loved ones at the time they need it most. Unfortunately, situations like this affect public confidence and can make fundraising even harder.
“Here at St Catherine’s Hospice we do all that we can to prevent fraudulent activity, which is why we brought this matter to the attention of the police. We are most grateful for their impressive work, and also the work of the Crown Prosecution Service, in bringing this matter to a conclusion. Fortunately situations like this are few and far between, but we are heartened to see the benefit of working together for the greater good.
“St Catherine’s Hospice relies on the unwavering and generous support of our local community and we will not allow extremely rare events such as this to over-shadow the amazing contribution of so many in Central Lancashire and beyond.”