Australian wellness blogger and author Belle Gibson, who made false claims of curing her terminal cancer, has been found guilty of a majority of charges of defrauding clients and profiting from the false claims.
She gained popularity in Australia after she claimed to have used Ayurvedic medicine, oxygen therapy and a gluten free and sugar free diet to cure her cancer but later admitted that the diagnosis was made up.
The 25-year-old authored a cook book and launched an app (The Whole Pantry) that made huge profits.
Handing down the judgement, Justice Debbie Mortimer said Gibson was guilty of most, but not all charges levied against her.
"Ms Gibson deliberately played on the genuine desire of members of the Australian community to help those less fortunate.
"Her 'pitch' overwhelmingly used groups likely to evoke sympathy because of their vulnerabilities — young girls, asylum seekers, sick children."
However, she added that there was no evidence to suggest that Gibson never believed she had cancer. She could have been under some kind of "delusion" when she was blogging about her non-existent cancer.
"Not all human beings are rational and reasonable all of the time. It seems to me that, at least in some respects, it might be open to find that Gibson suffered from a series of delusions about her health condition."
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), a wing under the Australian Department of Justice, alleged that Gibson engaged in unconscionable conduct.
In 2016, the CAV said in a statement: "The alleged contraventions relate to false claims by Ms Gibson and her company concerning her diagnosis with terminal brain cancer, her rejection of conventional cancer treatments in favour of natural remedies, and the donation of proceeds to various charities."
Gibson was not present in court at the time of the judgement and the penalty will be handed down at a later date.