HEALTH and wellness blogger and convicted fraudster, Belle Gibson, has been handed a $410,000 fine for falsely claiming her brain cancer was cured through alternative remedies.
Gibson profited off these claims through her best-selling app and cookbook called 'The Whole Pantry', which suggested she cured herself of cancer using alternative remedies and nutritional programs.
It was later revealed that Gibson never had cancer at all, and lied about the entire ordeal. Customers and devotees to Gibson's 'The Whole Pantry' sought remedies in court claiming Gibson misrepresented the power of the remedies in the book.
Consumer Affairs Victoria launched an investigation into Gibson's claims, accusing her of lying to promote the app and book.
The consumer watchdog then brought a civil case against Gibson and her company Inkerman Road Nominees in June 2016. Inkerman Road has since shut down following the investigation.
Gibson was found guilty of five contraventions of Australian consumer law for misrepresenting her apparent illness and for lying about donating profits from the app and book to charity.
Gibson made $420,000 after building a social media empire, and releasing 'The Whole Pantry' book and application.
The $410,000 fine includes:
- $90,000 for failing to donate proceeds from the sale of 'The Whole Pantry' app, as was advertised by Gibson
- $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 Mother's Day event
- $90,000 for failing to donate other profits
- $150,000 for failing to donate 100 per cent of one week's app sales to the family of Joshaua Shwarz, a child suffering from an inoperable brain tumour
In April, Gibson was ordered to pay $30,000 in prosecution costs after she was found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.
Gibson was not in court for this morning's ruling, and has not attended any court hearings this year.
Justice Mortimer was critical of Gibson's failure to present herself in court.
"She has chosen not to explain her conduct. She has chosen not to apologise for it," says Justice Mortimer.
"It appears she has put her own interests before those of anyone else."
Business News Australia
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