A carefree Belle Gibson has stepped out months after reportedly ‘locking herself away’ upon being ordered to explain why she hasn’t paid her fines for ripping off Aussies.
The cancer fraudster has been largely unseen in public since June, when the Federal Court gave the consumer watchdog six months to decide how it wished to recover the $410,000 fine she incurred for pretending to cure cancer through healthy living.
The con-artist had previously been warned she faced jail time for failing to pay the penalty, imposed on her in 2017 by Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer, for five breaches of consumer laws.
Cancer con woman Belle Gibson steps out in Collingwood to drop her son off at school. She still owes $410,000 in fines for duping hard-working Aussies
Cancer con woman Belle Gibson steps out in Collingwood to drop her son off at school. She has become one of the most despised women in Australia
Belle Gibson looked indignant at having her photo taken while at school drop-off. She pulled out her phone and fired back
Despite the warning, Gibson remains free in the community and stepped out in Collingwood, northeast of Melbourne, on Monday to drop off her child at school.
Gibson appeared carefree as she strolled along the road wearing her now familiar dark sun glasses.
The 27-year old only appeared to become annoyed when she noticed her photo was being taken.
An indignant Gibson raised her mobile phone and began to take photos of her photographer as she maintained her sullen facade.
Her recent sighting has renewed calls for the po-faced fraudster to be given something legitimate to cry about.
Gibson has become one of the most despised people in Australia after falsely claiming she had brain cancer and healed herself with natural remedies, including diet and alternative therapies.
She also lied to well-meaning consumers that she would donate money from her Whole Pantry app and book sales to various charities, including a boy with inoperable brain cancer.
Gibson received $440,500 from sales of her app and book, while only donating about $10,000 to charity.
More recently she spent more than $90,000 in two years and went to Bali and Africa while failing to pay her fines.
Cameron Miller, who runs the Shaun Miller Foundation, told Daily Mail Australia Gibson ‘absolutely disgusted’ him.
Mr Miller began the foundation to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), the illness that took his son Shaun’s life on May 26, 2012.
‘I just think it’s disgusting that she’s taken advantage of these people,’ he said.
‘She’s out there parading like she’s Lady Muck. I just think it’s wrong.’
Mr Miller said Gibson was giving a bad name to legitimate charities who were trying to help real victims.
‘When you have people like this it makes it hard for other foundations to convince people to donate money when you’ve got shonks out there,’ he said.
Mr Miller said Gibson had got off scot-free over her deception.
‘I just can’t get over it … she’s laughing at all these people. She should have been prosecuted (by police). She’s a fraudster. She is a con-woman and she should have been prosecuted to the whole letter of the law but she just thinks it’s funny.’
Mr Miller said Gibson should have been made to spend a week in a real cancer ward.
‘And see what it really is like to be sick,’ he said. ‘Instead of pretending to know what it’s like to be sick. She’s got no idea what it’s like to go through any kind of sickness.’
Gibson was grilled in the Federal Court earlier this year over why she hadn’t paid up.
Smile: A sullen Belle Gibson appeared carefree before she noticed she was not alone. A photographer snapped her and she snapped back with some shots of her own
The fraudster was made to answer questions about her failure to pay the whopping fine for conning Australians into believing she beat cancer with alternative remedies and a wholefood diet she then marketed.
Gibson had claimed she did not have the capacity to pay.
‘I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this time,’ she said.
While the court can’t obtain blood from a stone, Gibson can be held in contempt of court if she has the money but refuses to pay the fine, or is hiding assets to make it look like she’s unable to pay the fine.
Barrister for Consumer Affairs Victoria Carl Moller put it to Gibson that over a two year period where she had claimed to have earned just $35,000, she had in fact spent $91,000.
‘I don’t accept that,’ Gibson moaned.
An analysis of Gibson’s financial records found she blew $13,000 over that period on clothes, cosmetics and accessories.
A further $45,000 was spent on ‘discretionary spending’, he said.
‘Can you find some money to pay off the fine,’ Mr Moller asked.
‘No,’ Gibson replied.
Belle Gibson in her now trademark dark sun glasses. She was back-in-black in Collingwood on Monday and appeared carefree
How it happened
October 1991: Belle Gibson is born
May 2009: Gibson claims to have undergone multiple operations on her heart and also momentarily dying on the operating table
July 2009: Gibson claims that a doctor diagnosed her with terminal brain cancer and that she only had four months to live.
Early 2013: She launches an Instagram account (@healing_belle) and accompanying website sharing healthy, wholefood recipes.
Mid 2013: Gibson releases an app of her recipes
Mid-2014: Gibson begins working with Apple on the development of an apple watch specific platform for the Whole Food Pantry
November 12, 2014: Cosmopolitan honours Gibson with a Fun, Fearless, Female award in the social media category.
March 8, 2015: The Age releases an investigation into Gibson’s claims of donating proceeds to charity.
April 2015: Women’s Weekly publishes an interview with Gibson, where she declares ‘none of it’s true’.
May 6, 2015: Victoria’s consumer watchdog launches legal proceedings against Gibson’s false claims of defeating cancer by way of a wholefood diet.
The court heard during a 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.
Asked if she would consider entering a payment plan with the State of Victoria, Gibson said it was ‘a consideration’.
The matter has been adjourned until the end of this year to allow the consumer watchdog to decided if it wishes to carry on chasing the money or simply bankrupt Gibson and write-off the fines.
On top of the fine, Gibson still owes about $40,000 on unpaid credit card bills, which she’s likely to be sued over.
Gibson’s court appearance came amid speculation from tech insiders that she had started up a new digital agency specialising in web design and online marketing.
Gibson was apparently seen hanging around a tech show where experts were providing talks on new ways of doing business.
Gibson allegedly showed a great deal of interest in Voice UX – a technology that enables interaction between people and devices.
Her appearance did not go unnoticed by the IT crowd.
‘She was blithering on about it,’ the source said. ‘She claimed to be running an agency,’ a source said.
Cancer faker Belle Gibson arrives at the Federal Court in Melbourne in June to explain why she hasn’t paid back more than $410,000 owed to Australians she conned
Gibson has made no mention of operating any businesses to the Federal Court, but admitted to owning an online domain name and had been a director of a business called Future Technologies International.
She also listed on a rental agreement in 2015 that she was ‘self employed’ .
Gibson claimed under oath that her only source of income had come from doing odd jobs sourced from Airtasker as well as helping an elderly woman, and organising another woman’s home and small business.
Gibson, who has been spotted enjoying gelato on trendy Smith Street in Collingwood near where she lives with her wealthy benefactor and IT consultant Clive Rothwell, said she was cut off from using Airtasker after her May court appearance.
At one point she got annoyed when asked how long she had been with the father of her child, who started paying her $183 a week in child support in July last year.
Gibson claimed she couldn’t recall, but said she was unable to make any claim to that man’s assets.
She also couldn’t recall how she got $3500 she withdraw from a bank in Collingwood, or how she paid for a Gold Coast holiday, or what she did on it.
She denied having access to funds from other people’s accounts or being paid for work via someone else’s account.
Belle Gibson’s Whole Pantry app was heavily promoted by Apple. The app was dumped when the truth of Gibson’s lies became public. Gibson had tried to convince Australians she had defeated cancer with her healthy diet
The fake wellness guru was summoned to appear in the Federal Court for examination of her financial affairs following her non-compliance with the terms of her fine.
At an earlier hearing, Gibson, who the court heard was paid $75,000 for an interview on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes program, was questioned by barrister Elle Nikou-Madalin about her failure to pay off her fine.
She asked Gibson what ‘labels’ she was wearing, which prompted her barrister to object.
Gibson said she couldn’t remember when she purchased her black coat, but had bought her dress – valued at about $200 – in the last week and her shoes about five years ago.
‘The stockings I’m wearing I bought the other day,’ she said.
Gibson said she would would only wear ‘modest’ clothing.
She said she still dined out at restaurants and attended movies, but could not say how much she spent a week.
At her previous hearing, Gibson was overheard declaring the interest in her case was ‘sad’.
‘I think it’s sad that the media have been reduced to covering stories like this they should be covering more important things,’ she said.
In happier times: Belle Gibson accepts her 2014 Social Media Star of the year award at the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Awards. Gibson had pretended to cure herself from cancer with bogus claims of healthy living
Belle Gibson used to be a social media darling and often took to Facebook and Instagram to glam it up.
In February, Gibson came under fire after she allegedly spent $15,000 on a luxury African safari instead of paying her fine.
Gibson was spotted by reporters at Melbourne Airport after a five-week jaunt to East Africa with her fiancé Clive Rothwell and nine-year-old son Oliver.
In court, she said Mr Rothwell ‘gifted’ her thousands of dollars to pay for the trip.
Justice Mortimer warned Gibson in November failure to pay the penalty would make her liable for jail, property seizures or other punishment.
The judge scathingly described the fraudster as having a ‘relentless obsession with herself’ when she handed down her penalty in September, 2017.
Justice Mortimer said Gibson not only tried to garner sympathy for her own claimed cancer, but promoted herself as generous and selfless so people would buy her products.
The judge said her failure to apologise or attend any of her court hearings demonstrated how she placed her own interests ahead of others.