A Queensland mother who pretended her five-year-old daughter had terminal brain cancer to scam thousands of dollars has narrowly avoided going to jail.
The woman, now 37, sobbed as she pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The mother of two pleaded for help for her oldest daughter, claiming she had only months to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The woman lied to her family, with her husband quitting his job to spend time with the daughter he believed to be dying.
The court was told the girl did have a medical condition after doctors found a growth in the child's brain, but at no time was there any diagnosis it was cancer.
The fundraising plea promoted the creation of a GoFundMe campaign as thousands of dollars in donations were pledged along with donated experiences for the little girl.
The mother claimed her five-year-old had a "bucket list" of activities she wanted to try before she died, including riding a monster truck, flying in a helicopter and whale watching.
The woman continued the fabrication, even planning her daughter's memorial.
Queensland's emergency services were also duped with ambulances called on 37 occasions - mostly for headache, chest pains and blurred vision.
Flags were raised by authorities who suspected the mother had fabricated the girl's story before she was finally arrested in September last year.
It was only when confronted with medical records she admitted the lie, saying it had snowballed out of control and she did not know how to end what she started.
Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Carrie Davidson said the scam was "planned and systematic" and motivated by greed as she called for the woman to serve at least six months in jail.
"It's offensive to members of the community who really are struggling with cancer and its effects, and who rely on the assistance the community offers to get them through this tough period in their lives," Sen Sgt Davidson told the court.
"She maintained the lie, and even commenced fabricating a further story that her second daughter was experiencing headaches and telling friends that she too had lymphoma, and even stated to others that she herself had cancer."
The magistrate said her behaviour was "appalling and egregious" in every respect before ordering a nine-month wholly suspended sentence.
She also placed on two years' probation and ordered to repay $8919.17, with a conviction recorded.