The email that exposed Melissa Quinn as a fake
MELISSA Quinn had everyone fooled. Her family, her friends, her community, the media.
The mother-of-four shocked and devastated those who spoke to her about her cancer diagnosis - that she had inoperable tumours and was dying.
Except the 35-year-old was healthy and lying. And it was an ordinary email that finally caused the lies to unravel and expose her as a fraud.
Quinn's lies began back in 2014 when she told of suffering from brain cancer. She claimed she needed to travel to the United States for surgery that wasn't available here and that could save her life.
The town of Casino where she lived responded kindly and generously, with businesses donating money and others chipping in with fundraisers, as did Cricket Australia that donated items signed by former captain Michael Clarke.
Quinn was the first female cricketer to win entry to Westfield Sports High, she once played cricket for NSW's women's under-19s and had since moved on to a role as a cricket development officer in northern NSW.
Police allege the scam earned her $45,000 between 2014 and 2016
She did go to the US - leaving her children behind - and posted online of positive appointments she had with doctors where she couldn't have "got better news".
Once she returned from the US she claimed to have cancer again. And the fundraising was also back.
She could have gotten away with it if her colleagues hadn't noticed that she produced a doctor's certificate from a Gmail account.
In early 2016, Quinn told Cricket NSW she had been diagnosed with cancer for a second time. She claimed she had chronic myeloid leukaemia and that she would not be undergoing chemotherapy.
That same month she emailed Cricket NSW saying she had an operation scheduled to remove the tumours from her leg, and she was subsequently given unlimited sick leave.
When she returned staff were suspicious as she was back relatively soon - and with a bandage on her leg.
Cricket NSW requested a doctor's certificate and she produced one. But the fact it was sent from a Gmail account made staff suspicious.
They investigated by contacting the doctor it was supposedly written by. He confirmed their fears - he hadn't written the letter.
Cricket NSW went to the police with the information and she was charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, making a false document to obtain financial advantage and using false documents to obtain financial advantage.
She appeared in court last week and pleaded guilty to the charges.
Quinn was approached by a crew from Channel 9's A Current Affair, where she refused to comment, instead scurrying to her vehicle and claiming she could not speak on legal advice.
In January 2016 Quinn told the ABC's 7.30 of her 'discovery' of her cancer.
She told the show she started to feel severe pain several months after the birth of one of her children.
"It turned out that I had abnormalities of the uterus," Quinn told the show. "They suggested it was cancer and I didn't want to muck around with it.
"They got me in and did a hysterectomy. They didn't do a full one, just part of one and I seemed to recover quite well and it was another 12 or 14 months after that I started getting sick again."
She then told ABC that she was diagnosed with cancer in her brain and under the soft tissue under a birthmark on her left leg in June 2014.
"It was very hard not just on me but on the kids and the family," Quinn said.
Her partner Rodney told the show how they broke the news of Quinn's illness to family and friends.
"We put the two boys in a room with her parents and sat down and told them that she had been given two years," he said.
In 2014 she told The Northern Star that she had only two years left to live after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
"I had cancer two-and-a-half years ago in the uterus, so it wasn't a huge surprise that it's come back," she told the paper.
"The Australian Medical Board is covering 90 per cent of my costs to go to California to receive proton radiation therapy.
"But we need to make up the money for eight weeks of airfares, clinical fees and everyday expenses.
"We've estimated we need to raise $20,000."
Her lies extended to heartfelt Facebook posts where she kept anxious supporters in the loop.
"Thanks to everyone who text. Second round of treatment down, six to go,' said one post.
"Feeling a bit more human today. No chemo this week," said another.
Quinn will be sentenced next month.