Cancer fraudster Belle Gibson spent more than $90,000 in two years and went to Bali and Africa, but still claims she cannot pay her fine for conning Australians.
The disgraced wellness blogger was fined $410,000 for breaching consumer laws after claiming she cured her non-existent brain cancer through diet and alternative therapies.
A financial analysis of the 27-year-old showed she spent about $91,000 between 2017 and 2019, which she denied.
“I don’t believe your figure is correct,” she told the Federal Court in Melbourne on Thursday.
But Carl Moller, for Consumer Affairs, said its analysis showed $13,000 in that period was splurged on clothes, cosmetics and accessories.
The con artist had also taken trips, including to Bali in 2017, because she wanted to “take leave of her situation here in Melbourne”.
During Gibson’s Bali trip, $1600 was paid into her account to help fund her ongoing travel, but she wasn’t sure who transferred her the cash.
“Is it seriously your evidence that $1600 was deposited into your account, in three deposits in the space of about a week, and you don’t know who deposited it?” Mr Moller asked.
“I’d have to speculate and I’m not willing to do that,” Gibson replied.
She had previously said she went to East Africa on a holiday which was a gift from a mysterious room mate named “Clive”.
Gibson explained thousands of dollars coming into her account was not income, but repayments for running errands for friends who didn’t have time to do their shopping, or get their car serviced.
However, she failed to explain why she withdrew $3500 cash in October and what it was used for.
She earlier broke down in tears when quizzed about her relationship with “Claire”, who she was caring for under an arrangement with the woman’s daughter.
“I’m sorry … it’s of a personal nature. It’s not something I want to be discussing,” she replied.
She was asked whether the woman had died, but said no. She then began to cry, took off her glasses and said it was because of her “empathetic nature”.
“I care about these people,” she said.
The arrangement with the woman started through online outsourcing skills site Airtasker. Gibson revealed she had since been kicked off the platform.
“[I’m] no longer able to use the platform. I’m uncertain why,” she said.
Despite lavish spending habits detailed in her bank statements, the fraudster said she was unable to pay the penalty.
“I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this stage,” she said.
As well as claiming she cured herself of cancer, the fake wellness blogger lied to consumers and said she would donate money from her Whole Pantry app and book sales to charities.
Gibson received $440,500 from sales of her app and book, but donated only about $10,000.
She told the court she had considered bankruptcy and also repaying her fine through a payment plan arrangement.
Her barrister, Andrew Tragardh, previously said his client could not afford to keep coming back to court.
Consumer Affairs now has six months to push for her to be declared bankrupt or re-examine Gibson to see if they can get the funds another way.