Second Ontario woman admits to faking cancer, defrauding work for thousands

An Ontario woman has admitted she faked having cancer to defraud her work out of thousands of dollars, just one week after another young woman pleaded guilty to an unrelated cancer fraud.

Jessica Ann Leeder is shown in an undated handout photo.

Jessica Ann Leeder is shown in an undated handout photo.

TIMMINS, Ont. — An Ontario woman has admitted she faked having cancer to defraud her work out of thousands of dollars, just one week after another young woman pleaded guilty to an unrelated cancer fraud.

Jessica Ann Leeder, 21, appeared in a Timmins, Ont., court Tuesday for a bail hearing, but instead opted to plead guilty to fraud over $5,000.

Sporting short hair, a green hooded sweatshirt and pink plaid pyjama pants Leeder told the judge in a quiet voice that she understood what pleading guilty entails.

“It’s giving up my right to a trial, saying that I take full responsibility for the charge,” Leeder said.

No agreed statement of fact was read into the record Tuesday, but Leeder told the judge she had been made aware of them.

Leeder, who has no prior criminal record, admitted that from February up until her arrest she defrauded Timberland Ford of more than $5,000.

Police said Leeder pretended to have lung and stomach cancer for close to a year, accepting support, including money, from the community.

A friend has said Leeder worked at the Ford car dealership in Timmins. Police said a large part of the investigation was linked to Leeder’s place of work.

She was to be released Tuesday on her own recognizance, but must pay $750 if she violates any conditions of her release, including reporting to police every Friday and notifying them of any change of address.

Leeder is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 21 for a sentencing hearing.

In a separate case, a Toronto-area woman who faked cancer and collected donations pleaded guilty last Tuesday to fraud over $5,000.

Ashley Kirilow, 23, of Burlington, Ont., still faces six counts of fraud under $5,000, which each carry a maximum term of two years.

The Crown said Kirilow’s motivation was to attract attention.