A father-of-three who convinced his family and friends that he was dying of cancer in order to con them out of cash was jailed for 20 months today.
Scumbag Simon Swift, 39, claimed he had inoperable spine, brain and bone tumours after researching the symptoms on the internet.
He persuaded his devastated family to organise charity fundraising events in his honour and pals donated prizes for a raffle and showered him with gifts.
Car giant Peugeot even offered to donate a car for a raffle and Curry’s pledged hundreds of pounds in TVs and electrical goods.
Shockingly, he flogged dozens of £5 tickets to a former school pal for a charity event after telling her on Facebook: ”I thought you should know, I’m dying.”
He even appeared on the front page of his local newspaper urging people to donate cash, saying: ”I know I’m dying and I’ve come to terms with it.”
But he was rumbled when stunned hospital chiefs discovered he had never been a patient despite his claims he was being treated for cancer.
Swift, from Rugby, Warks., pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of theft at an earlier hearing.
Today he was jailed for 20 months at Warwick Crown Court after a judge branded him a ”conman and a fraudster”.
Judge Christopher Hodson told him: ”You preyed on the emotions of others and people who felt sympathy for you.
”They were persuaded to part with money after hearing about your false story.
”They did this in good faith, it was a yarn, a tale you spun them. In fact it was all lies.
”You made money out of this, you got sympathy out of this and you got publicity out of this.
”People thought you were a decent person but nothing could be further from the truth.
”You are a conman and a fraudster and your record shows that you continue to offend in the same vain.”
Swift, nicknamed ”Shifty Swifty” by pals, had seven previous convictions for deception and fraud.
His latest scam started in May 2009 when he told his devastated family he had terminal cancer after going for routine check-up.
He told them doctors at Coventry’s University Hospital performed a biopsy on him which confirmed the cancer was spreading.
Pals agreed to help him raise money for cancer research and prepared a fundraising event in the town after he told them he had months to live.
Prizes were donated by a number of local businesses and hundreds of pounds worth of tickets were bought by friends, relatives and supporters.
But he was exposed as a fraud after doctors at the hospital checked their records and discovered he had never been treated by them.
Doctors called the police and he was arrested and confessed he had invented the entire story and was in fact perfectly healthy.
Heidi Kubik, prosecuting, said: ”He told his family he had terminal cancer and had between six and eight months to live.
”This was a story he peddled not only to his family and friends but to the wider public.
”He contacted friends including Yvette McCartney who he had known for 26 years.
”He got in contact on Facebook in May and told her he had terminal cancer of the spine, brain and bones.
”He said: ‘You are one of my dearest friends and I thought you should know I’m dying’.”
Swift conned hundreds of pounds from other friends and family and was even offered a free sky-dive from a local company.
He sold around £600 of tickets for the bogus charity event along with hundreds of pounds in prizes donated from local businesses and friends
Ms Kubik told the court: ”These were the efforts that these people went to to make his last few months memorable and enjoyable.”
Swift also admitted falsely gaining a tab at a local pub in November 2009 after he told the landlady the bill would be settled with a Lloyds TSB card.
Nick Devine, defending, said: ”Mr Swift suffers from low self-esteem. He wanted to make himself the centre of attention and popular.”
He was jailed for a total of 20 months and told he would serve half that and be released on licence.
He has served 123 days in custody which will count towards his sentence.