A Sydney madam, who once allegedly employed accused drug smuggler Cassandra Sainsbury, said the imprisoned 22-year-old lied about having cancer and was very depressed.
Pamela Feranchi told The Daily Telegraph the South Australian fleeced her fellow co-workers with stories about her mother's death and her fiancé's unemployment.
Now in a Colombian prison, the newspaper reports Ms Sainsbury had recently spent a dreadful time working at Penrith's Club 220 under the pseudonym Claudia, telling Ms Feranchi she was struggling to make ends meet.
The Adelaide woman would cry in the corners of the western Sydney establishment, with the proprietor telling the paper she was not "the most popular girl ... because she was tubby".
The 22-year-old is being held in Colombia on charges she tried to smuggle 5.8kg of cocaine in her luggage through Bogota's El Dorado Airport.
According to her alleged former employer, Ms Sainsbury concocted a sympathy-enduing backstory, telling her fellow sex workers her mother had died of multiple sclerosis.
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The tragic tale spurred her co-workers to chip in and pay for Ms Sainsbury's late mother's funeral costs, the madam said.
The madam said when Ms Sainsbury told her she had herself been diagnosed with cancer it "broke my heart" and she would sometimes be such a crying mess, clients told her not work.
"Cassie was a very sweet girl who was deeply depressed and didn't want to work as a sex worker," Ms Feranchi told the newspaper about the Adelaide woman, who quit abruptly in December.
"She rang me crying from Adelaide asking for work saying her fiancé wasn't working, he was living off her, and she needed the money to support him — no girl chooses to be a sex worker unless they absolutely have to."
The madam said the reluctant prostitute never took drugs or drank much other than beer, but was a "complete mess" who would "cry in the corner eating pizza, chips and gravy".
"She wasn't the most popular girl, God love her, she was a bit tubby, even though she was a personal trainer," Ms Feranchi said.
Ms Sainsbury would tell her employer how she did not want to work as a prostitute but had "big money problems" and wanted to make fast cash.
Seven News spoke with her fiancé Scott Broadbridge in Los Angeles on Monday but he refused comment on allegations his partner was employed as a sex worker.
He maintains his partner's innocence, believing she was set up in the drug-smuggling bust by her new employers.
"I don't know if the business she worked for set her up from Colombia," Mr Broadbridge said.
"But, you know, I believe, she was, you know, I guess, set up as a drug mule without her knowledge."