TIMMINS, ONT. – A 21-year-old Timmins woman who faked cancer to defraud her co-workers was handed six months of house arrest Tuesday, with special provisions after she told the court she’s pregnant.
“I’m very sorry for the actions I’ve done and I want the chance to make things right,” said Jessica Ann Leeder, who last month pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000.
Leeder, who pretended to have stomach and lung cancer for almost a year, admitted she defrauded the employees of a Timmins Ford dealership, who held a fundraising drive for the young woman.
Facebook photos of Leeder — who moved to Timmins from the Orillia area about three years ago —showed her with close-cropped hair and a shaved head. She told friends she needed money to cover travel expenses and treatment costs.
Leeder’s arrest came only days after Ashley Kirilow, a 23-year-old woman from Burlington, pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 after a similar, but unrelated, cancer-faking ruse.
In the same month, a 29-year-old Toronto man, Christopher Gordon, was similarly charged with fraud after allegedly pretending to have terminal brain cancer and collecting $3,000 in donations. Gordon’s case remains before the courts.
Kirilow, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27, still faces six counts of fraud under $5,000.
In Leeder’s case, Judge Martin Lambert noted the woman spent “five hard days” in jail and took the guilty plea into account, saying it showed remorse.
For the first three months of Leeder’s house arrest, she is only allowed to leave for medical emergencies, except Saturdays when she can be away from 9 a.m. to midnight for personal business. For the second three months she must be home between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., every day, followed by a year’s probation, 100 hours of community service and a prohibition on alcohol. Violating the conditions could lead to jail time.
The court recommended Leeder do her community service with the Canadian Cancer Society.
With files from Brendan Kennedy