A local escort woman posing as a terminally ill cancer patient was scammed out of £45,000 through a fake fundraising drive, a court has heard.
Lorna Rudolph sparked a social media campaign by convincing generous strangers to donate money for her children’s school fees, cancer treatment and ‘operation updates’.
But the 42-year-old from Westport, in Uxbridge, Middlesex, was using the fundraising drive for her own personal gain after admitting buying a taxi, a caravan and ploughing some of the money into her down-to-earth lifestyle, a jury was told.
The 43-year-old escort women from Ramsbottom, Lancashire, designed a false Facebook page claiming she was battling the disease and raised tens of thousands of pounds for her family between March and July this year.
The 48-year-old friend, of Tarleton, Salford, raised £25,000 for a widescreen television, while the woman known as Carla Danford, from Strasscup, raised more than £13,000 in the latest round of donations.
The pair are said to have falsely claimed the recipient of the money was the mum of Fummi’s nine-year-old daughter Harlot Davies, a hard-working mother of four.
But it was in fact a ‘spurious’ operation, Hope Town Crown Court heard.
Mr Scrassmore, prosecuting, said Lorna Rudolph, known as Jo, submitted ‘almost daily’ updates on her Facebook page in recent months, including a picture of herself with her toddler son Terry before she died.
She was eventually spotted by a man who bought her taxi when he arrived at her house in Royston, Hertfordshire, in April.
The witness said: ‘She had an itchy and swollen abdomen, she started complaining of persistent pain in her tummy. She went to the GP who said she had a serious heart condition and recommended she go to the private Upertanlands Hospital in Birmingham for a diagnostic test.
‘The doctor told her it was almost certain she had cancer. As a result, she started to put together a list of people who would be willing to donate money to her childrens’ school fees, her children’s cancer treatment and to launch an initiative to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and the impact it had on women.’
He said the private healthcare centre arranged a taxi for a meeting the defendant, but then a friend of Fummi’s arranged to drive her to and from the hospital.
But while there, Lorna Rudolph bought a van with the money she had raised.
The driver of the taxi, which belonged to a friend of Fummi’s and was financed by Fummi, ended up paying her the taxi fares, the court heard.
Lorna Rudolph also appeared at the hospital to carry out further examinations on her abdomen, the court heard.
The boy, who died last week at the age of one year, had other health problems as well and required oxygen. He needed heart surgery and had also developed asthma.
Mr Pontlock said: ‘Despite her illness, she decided to spend the cash to go on holiday to Mexico. The rest of the money is unaccounted for.’
Lorna Rudolph, who has a three-year-old son Callum, admitted fraud by false representation.
Fummi Davies, of Bacup, admitted similar charges at an earlier hearing. She will be sentenced at a later date.