Authorities have raided the home of notorious fraudster Belle Gibson to recoup over $500,000 she owes in fines for duping people into believing she cured her own brain cancer.
In a statement on Friday the Victorian Sheriff’s Office confirmed they are seizing assets from Ms Gibson’s Melbourne house and are seeking more than $500,000 in ‘fines, penalties and interest’ from Ms Gibson.
‘Ms Gibson owes the Victorian public a substantial debt and Consumer Affairs Victoria will continue to pursue repayment,’ a spokesperson for Consumer Affairs Victoria said.
‘A warrant of seizure and sale on Ms Gibson was executed today by Sheriff’s Officers at an address in Northcote.’
The discredited ‘Whole Pantry’ founder has been living free and seemingly happy since her $410,000 fine for duping Australians was handed down in September 2017.
A warrant has been issued for notorious cancer fraudster Belle Gibson saying she owes the Victorian public a ‘substantial debt’ for duping Australians out of more than $400,000 in made-up treatments
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia on Friday the Victorian Sheriff’s Office confirmed they are raiding her Melbourne home to seize assets and are seeking more than $500,000 in ‘fines, penalties and interest’ from Ms Gibson
Consumer Affairs Victoria quietly filed for a warrant at the Federal Court in late December 2017, six months after she insisted she wasn’t ‘in a position’ to pay the fine.
On that occasion, Gibson told the court: ‘I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this time’.
Carl Moller, the barrister for Consumer Affairs Victoria, told Gibson she had spent $91,000 over a two-year period.
He told the court she had claimed to have earned just $35,000 in that time. Gibson replied: ‘I don’t accept that’.
The court heard Gibson had travelled to Bali and Africa during those two years.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal the warrant executed on Gibson allows her to keep household goods which keep her living at a level of ‘basic comfort’.
A Victorian Legal Aid document said such items include ‘your fridge, television, washing machine, basic furniture and clothing’.
While the sheriff can claim ‘unsecured, valuable things you own outright… for example, your car’, it’s not clear who owns the Skoda sedan she drives.
Both Gibson and her ‘housemate’ Clive Rothwell, have been seen driving the white car – and the sheriff can’t seize his goods.
But since the sheriff visited, Gibson has been banned from selling off any of her items.
To an outsider, it seems unlikely that the value of the disgraced wellness advocate’s possessions would come anywhere near the amount of her $500,000 debt.
A Consumer Affairs Victoria spokeswoman could not disclose how the agency will enforce the fine against her if that is the case.
‘CAV is committed to recovering the debt Ms Gibson owes the Victorian public and will continue to pursue Ms Gibson until it is repaid in full.’
WHAT BELLE GIBSON CAN KEEP
The Victorian Sheriff is will allow Gibson to continue to keep items that keep her in ‘basic comfort’.
Gibson could keep household goods including her fridge, television, washing machine, basic furniture (presumably including a table and chairs) and clothing.
Her car will not be seized if she is not the official owner, or if it is her primary form of transport and is worth less than $7600.
Source: Victorian Legal Aid, via Consumer Affairs Victoria
WHAT BELLE GIBSON WILL LOSE
The Victorian Sheriff can seize ‘any non-secured, valuable items’ to sell them off.
A Legal Aid face sheet said, under the terms of Gibsons’ warrant, a sheriff can attend a person’s home to take their goods, or just make a list.
Once the sheriff has listed the goods, they can’t be sold off or disposed of.
The items are then sold off at auction afterwards, although Gibson could stop the sale by negotiating to pay.
Source: Victorian Legal Aid, via Consumer Affairs Victoria
Gibson was hauled in front of the Federal Court last year and claimed ‘I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this time’
Gibson was briefly a celebrity – the recipient of 2014’s Cosmopolitan magazine ‘Fun, Fearless, Female’ award after her too-incredible-to-be-true battle with cancer
She splurged $13,000 on clothes, cosmetics and accessories and a further $45,000 was listed as ‘discretionary spending’.
Mr Moller asked the infamous con artist: ‘Can you find some money to pay off the fine?’
‘No,’ Gibson replied.
Gibson refused to tell the court who transferred her $1600 to fund her ongoing trip to Bali.
‘Is it seriously your evidence that $1600 was deposited into your account, in three deposits in the space of about a week, and you don’t know who deposited it?’ Mr Moller asked.
‘I’d have to speculate and I’m not willing to do that,’ Gibson replied.
Asked if she would consider bankruptcy or entering a payment plan with the State of Victoria, Gibson said it was ‘a consideration’.
The matter was adjourned to allow the consumer watchdog to decide whether to continue to pursue Gibson for the money or bankrupt her and write off the fines.
Now the watchdog has taken action.
Gibson was unimpressed when spotted by a news photographer in inner Melbourne last October and turned her phone on him
Gibson has failed to pay the fine since she was found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct in September 2017.
She had fraudulently claimed to have made donations to charity from the profits of her Whole Pantry business.
The business was a success in large part because of her extraordinary claims she had cured her brain cancer with healthy eating.
Daily Mail Australia last year revealed Gibson has declared herself an adopted member of Ethiopia’s Oromo community.
She has referred to herself by the name ‘Sobantu’ on several occasions and has prayed at Melbourne’s Preston Mosque.
Sources have claimed the mosque may consider banning Gibson from attending in the future.
Belle Gibson’s fake cancer saga: How it happened
October 1991: Belle Gibson is born
May 2009: Gibson claims to have undergone multiple operations on her heart and also momentarily died on the operating table
July 2009: Gibson claims that a doctor diagnosed her with terminal brain cancer and that she only had four months to live.
Early 2013: She launches an Instagram account (@healing_belle) and accompanying website sharing healthy, wholefood recipes.
Mid 2013: Gibson releases an app of her recipes
Mid-2014: Gibson begins working with Apple on the development of an apple watch specific platform for the Whole Food Pantry
November 12, 2014: Cosmopolitan honours Gibson with a Fun, Fearless, Female award in the social media category.
March 8, 2015: The Age newspaper releases an investigation into Gibson’s claims of donating proceeds to charity.
April 2015: Women’s Weekly publishes an interview with Gibson, where she admits ‘none of it’s true’.
May 6, 2015: Victoria’s consumer watchdog launches legal proceedings against Gibson’s false claims of defeating cancer by way of a wholefood diet
June 2015: Gibson gives a TV interview with Nine’s Tara Brown, program where she claims ‘I’m not trying to get away with anything’
September 2017: Gibson is fined $410,000 by the Federal Court for her false claims of charitable donations
The judge describes her as having a ‘relentless obsession with herself and what serves her best interests’
June 2019: Almost two years after she was ordered to pay the fine, Gibson tells the court: ‘I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this stage’
December 2019: Consumer Affairs Victoria quietly issues a warrant ‘of seizure or sale’ against Gibson
January 22, 2020: Sheriff executes a ‘seize and sell’ warrant on Gibson’s Northcote home, following inquiries from Daily Mail Australia