Canada
Calgary cancer faker sentenced to 6 months in jail

28-year-old Kristopher Cook is being charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and is accused of raising more than $7,500 under false pretenses that he was suffering from brain cancer.

Credits: Brendan Miller

KEVIN MARTIN | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY - Cancer faker Kristopher Cook must serve the equivalent of a six-month jail term for his "despicable deceit" in swindling supporters, a judge ruled Thursday.

And Cook must also serve two years' probation, with a condition he pay the $7,500 he scammed from friends at a fundraiser in his name to the Canadian Cancer Society.

"The nature of this offence is grave," provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk said in his written ruling.

"It strikes at the heart of our public charity and voluntary donation propensity as citizens," the judge said.

"This type of offence seriously undermines the efforts of worthy charities to raise funds for research and cure of various diseases."

Semenuk noted Cook, 28, claimed to have brain cancer and kept up the ruse for 10 months.

"His despicable deceit resulted in his obtaining $7,500, a significant amount of money," he said.

The judge said there were also other aggravating factors -- including Cook's flight to Victoria until his arrest last Sept. 11 -- which made the sentence of time already served sought by the defence an insufficient punishment.

"His motive in the commission of the offence was strictly greed and, to date, he has not made any restitution."

Outside court, Cook's lawyer said his client was willing to take his punishment and make amends for what he acknowledged was foolish conduct.

"It was a stupid thing to do, that's the bottom line," defence counsel Joel Chevrefils said.

Chevrefils said Semenuk's sentence, along with a Calgary Remand Centre beating Cook received after his arrest, should act as a future deterrent to both him and others.
"He's paid the consequences of it, both through court ... and jailhouse justice," Chevrefils said.

Cook earlier pleaded guilty to fraud after he claimed to friends he had cancer.

A July 8, 2011, fundraiser to collect money for his treatment raised $7,500 -- money Cook then used for himself.

Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson, who had sought a jail term of up to nine months, said the sentence, including the restitution, should serve as a deterrent to others.

"The main concern for me was that he didn't get away with defrauding the public," Ewenson said.

"Counsel has always (submitted) that he should pay back every cent he defrauded from the public."

With credit for time in remand since his arrest last September, Cook will have to serve another 68 days.

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