Co-workers in shock over fake cancer allegations against mum
Update 2pm: FORMER colleagues of a Casino mother of four charged with fraud helped out by driving her to medical appointments and chemotherapy treatments and performing child minding duties, it has emerged.
It's understood several staff at the Casino RSM Club where Melissa Quinn worked part-time in 2014 were in tears today after hearing about the police allegations.
The Casino RSM Club has subsequently issued a statement about the affair.
In the written statement, secretary manager of the club Neale Genge said the club was "deeply shocked and saddened to be informed about the arrest of Melissa Quinn in relation to alleged fraud from fundraising activities held to assist with her cancer treatment."
"While the Casino RSM Club has a strict policy of not making cash donations to individuals, we have on many occasions assisted a number of individuals to host fundraising events for persons requiring medical treatment.
"Our contribution has always been non-cash such as assisting with promoting these events and making our facilities available at no cost.
"The Casino RSM Club assisted Ms Quinn's friends and family in hosting an event in November 2014 in which approximately $20,000 raised at the Club with additional funds coming from Cricket Australia and other sources.
"Ms Quinn was a part-time employee of the club at that time, while also being an employee of Cricket NSW.
"At no stage was the Casino RSM Club aware that Ms Quinn's illness was anything but genuine, and a number of staff members had assisted Ms Quinn by minding her children and driving to her alleged medical appointments and chemotherapy treatments.
"The generosity of the people of Casino and District has been highlighted a number of times in the support they show for people in need.
"While this matter is before the courts we cannot speculate further, but we trust this incident will not dampen the Casino community's commitment to provide assistance to individuals and support their own when required."
It's understood that Ms Quinn quit her job yesterday at the Casino BWS bottle shop.
Update 12.05pm: THE CLOSE knit Casino cricket community is reeling with news that former player and volunteer Melissa Quinn has been charged with multiple counts of fraud.
John Black, long serving secretary-treasurer of the Casino Cavaliers Cricket Club said news of Ms Quinn's arrest came as a "huge shock".
Mr Black worked closely with Ms Quinn during her tenure as a volunteer for the Casino and District Cricket Association and vice president of the Cavaliers, which field the elite district team.
"These are just allegations… we probably can't judge Melissa just right at this moment, but it is a shock," he said.
Mr Black said the entire community took Ms Quinn "at her word" and pitched in to help raise money for her treatment.
"The community got in behind her because that's what most communities do when someone is suffering from cancer, that's what people do, help each other.
"She exhibited for me a love of cricket… she was always willing to help."
Mr Black was one of scores of local business people and community members to contribute to an auction at the Casino RSM Club in 2014 to raise money for Ms Quinn's medical trip to California.
"We all pitched in a did our little bit to help her," he said.
Ms Quinn was also supposed to be spending eight weeks in the US to undergo specialised proton radiation therapy. But he said she returned after two weeks.
Original story 5am: A Casino woman allegedly faked cancer to fleece tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting donors including Cricket NSW.
Mum of four Melissa Irene Quinn, 34, allegedly concocted an elaborate story in 2014 to raise money for an all-expenses paid trip to California to undergo "life saving" proton radiation therapy.
Ms Quinn was a volunteer for the Casino District Cricket Association at the time.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke was one of three Test players to donate signed and framed playing shirts for auction for a $70 per head fund raising event in her honour in October 2014 held at the Casino RSM Club.
NSW State of Origin also donated a jersey.
Prior to the 2014 event she told The Northern Star then 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 said.
"The Australian Medical Board is covering 90% 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."
In 2015 Ms Quinn started work full-time for Cricket NSW as a development manager for the North Coast region.
Then in 2016, she allegedly claimed she had contracted ovarian cancer and chronic myeloid leukaemia.
"I've got a tumour in my leg and I'll actually be having surgery next week," she told The Northern Star in May 2016.
"It's a bit of a tough time for me at the moment and I'm just looking forward to getting back on my feet."
Cricket NSW then supported her with a number of auctions to raise further funds for her treatment.
During Casino's annual Beef Week celebrations that year Test cricketer and current Sheffield Shield captain Steve O'Keefe helped auction off cricket memorabilia on her behalf.
Her story was the source of widespread media coverage including a feature story on the ABC's 7.30 as well as press released from Cricket NSW which linked to a Gofundme crowdfunding campaign raising funds on her behalf.
Between 2014 and 2016 she is alleged to have raised a total of $45,000 - but police allege it was all lies.
The 34-year-old is charged with four counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, one count of making false document to obtain financial advantage, and using a false document to obtain financial advantage.
She was arrested and charged on Tuesday and granted conditional bail.
Under her bail conditions Ms Quinn is forbidden from approaching or contacting any prosecution witness or any member of Cricket NSW involved in the matter.
The matter is set down for mention in Casino Local Court on 18 April 2018.