Calgary cancer fraudster sentencing delayed until June

Cancer faker 'terribly damaged' by traumatic events and won't go to jail: judge

It will be another two months before a Calgary woman who raised donations by pretending to have cancer and claiming she was a Fort McMurray wildfire evacuee faces sentencing.

Jennifer Halford entered guilty pleas on seven counts of fraud last November dating back to the beginning of the year.

She claimed she had aggressive breast cancer and that she and her family had lost everything in the northern Alberta spring wildfires. She received donations including gift cards, food, clothing, babysitting and beauty treatments.

Sentencing arguments have now been rescheduled for June 19. Halford, who is free pending her sentencing, was not in court Tuesday.

Sentencing reports not finished

Crown prosecutor Jason Wuttunee said the court had ordered a report from probation services, as well as a psychiatric report from Alberta Health Services. Both needed more time to finish, he said.

There is no risk of the case being contested due to an unreasonable delay, he added.

"There's nothing unusual in this process," he said. "This is just the way the justice system happens."

When Halford entered guilty pleas last November, Wuttunee said she took advantage of people's good will.

"She effectively manipulated those two fictitious components of her story in order to gain sympathy and various items of charity from the goodwill of other people that she either knew in the community or to whom she was a stranger," he said.

Lawyer says remorse shown

Halford took advantage of cancer survivors, as well as mothers she met in 2008 when her daughter was receiving treatment for mitochondrial disease. Her five-year-old daughter died in January, 2011.

Halford's lawyer said her client has shown remorse and expressed the need to take responsibility for her actions.

"Ms. Halford has expressed the need to take responsibility for the actions that she has committed," Michelle Parhar said in November.

"It avoids all of the complainants having to come to court and testify. It has been very overwhelming for her and obviously having taken ownership for what she has done is difficult, but she's managed to do it."

- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Random drug testing for pilots could ease safety concerns, aviation experts say

- MORE CALGARY NEWS | 'I didn't know how to breathe': Orphan abuse trial hears 7-year-old's head held under water