Kelly Val Smith “created a fanciful world” to scam tens of thousands of dollars from her family and friends over a fake cancer diagnosis and other lies.
The Adelaide woman told her victims she had ovarian cancer, that her son needed a serious heart operation and that she was to get a $1 million victims of crime payout.
She duped some into buying expensive properties on a promise she would gift them large sums of money, in one case $2 million.
She also convinced the same person to cover the $97,000 cost of booking a 70-person suite for an event in Melbourne.
In sentencing on Wednesday, South Australian District Court Chief Judge Michael Evans said Smith had told a string of lies over an extended period of time in her desire to be liked.
“You created a fanciful world that gave you empowerment,” Judge Evans said in reference to a psychological assessment of the 40-year-old.
“However, you were unable to control it.”
Judge Evans said Smith’s offending between 2012 and 2015 breached friendships as she preyed on people who had no reason not to trust her.
“Your offending was elaborate and yet unsophisticated. It was consistent and persistent over a long period of time,” he said.
“You lied for your own financial advantage and also in an attempt to be liked and accepted.”
At one stage Smith covered up her lack of funds with the excuse that her bank account had been frozen after being hacked.
She apologised for her actions but Judge Evans said it was difficult to accept that she was genuinely contrite given her late guilty pleas and her failure to repay most of the money.
One of her victims, Michelle Ingley-Smith said she didn’t believe Smith was sorry for what she had done, describing the apology read to the court as disingenuous.
“Her actions were evil as far as we are concerned,” Ms Ingley-Smith told reporters outside court.
“She has dragged us through a system in which we’ve finally seen justice prevail.”
Judge Evans jailed Smith for four years and 19 days and imposed a non-parole period of two years.