Paco Sanz has reached an agreement in accordance with the Prosecutor’s Office by acknowledging that he swindled more than 250,000 euros from thousands of people pretending to have more than 2,000 tumors, thus accepting a two-year prison sentence compared to the six that was initially requested.
When sickness turns scam
The agreement includes the recognition of facts, but does not reach civil responsibility as a pact is not reached in this regard with the private accusations. Therefore, in the trial, only the possible civil liability of the defendants will be resolved, as the parties have agreed at the beginning of the session.
The sentence request for his ex-partner Lucía Carmona has also been reduced to one year and nine months, according to the same sources. In his appearance, he has acknowledged that he helped his then partner to raise funds for his trips to the United States.
In his statement, Paco Sanz explained to questions from his lawyer that he received an experimental treatment in the United States to treat the ‘Cowden Syndrome’ that he suffers, receiving help from his family, friends and donations from third parties to defray the expenses of the travels. In total, he traveled up to ten times to the US.
Thus, he has reported that he needed financial help when he received a pension of just over 500 euros for his disability, indicating that he does not know how much the amount of money from the donations received amounted and that it would correspond to the money scammed.
The prosecutor accuses Paco Sanz of pretending on television the seriousness of his illness – which he claimed to cause 2,000 tumors – to cheat 264,780 euros. This is stated in the indictment in which the prosecutor asked the accused for six years in prison and also claimed for his partner three years for a continuing crime of fraud.
The prosecutor says that the defendant, pretending that he had only a few months to live, managed to collect 264,780 euros in seven years by asking for financial aid through social networks and even in the media to try to get an experimental treatment in the United States, because in Spain it did not exist, of a disease that in reality had no imminent life risk.
In 2009, he was diagnosed with ‘Cowden Syndrome’, a disease of genetic origin classified as ‘rare’ and characterized by the appearance of a series of benign tumors, although without imminent life risk.
The defendant was granted absolute incapacity to work due to a common illness, being the beneficiary of a pension of 745.99 euros, which could be updated according to the CPI, and it was paid to a bank account opened in his name at La Caixa.
Plan to scam
Taking advantage of his illness, according to the prosecutor, he devised a plan to obtain an illicit financial gain between 2010 and February 2017. During this time, he made people believe through the use of social networks and the media that his illness was much more serious. than the one I really had.
Under the pretext of financing the alleged treatment, in 2010 he created the website www.ayudapacosanz.com in which he exaggerated the symptoms of his illness, “stating that he suffered from genetic cancer, or that he had only a few months to live.” On that website, he posted messages like “I’m ashamed to ask for money.”
It even gave the possibility of donating money to him by sending a solidarity SMS with a cost of 1.45 euros to the number 25600 with the Paco Word or also the possibility of donating economic amounts through his PayPal account.
Francisco Sanz also had profiles open on various social networks that he used to continue with his campaign of empathy and awareness of the collective in his favor and increase the donations to receive.
“These maneuvers effectively achieved their mission, thus sensitizing many people and groups, the accused contacted various actors, television presenters who echoed Paco Sanz’s illness and selflessly spread messages of need through social networks of financial aid that the accused needed, “adds the Prosecutor’s Office.
The alleged fraudster registered on January 19, 2012 in the National Registry of Associations the ‘Asociación Paco Sanz Para La Investigación Del Síndrome De Cowden España’ (APSISCE), of which he was appointed president and whose statutes stated that he lacked profit motive and that its aims were the social support to the sick and their families, “and the dissemination of the disease by all legal and possible means.”
To do this, he opened a bank account in an entity. One of those affected by the scam was the Seur Foundation, which in 2012 had an active campaign “Caps for a new life” consisting of the collection of plastic caps and subsequent recycling of them, obtaining an economic amount that was donated to families with scarce resources and a minor disabled in a degree of at least 80%.
To give more publicity to his disease and to reach more people with the aim of seizing more funds, the accused contacted various actors and television presenters who “moved” by the false story he told them about his disease agreed to collaborate with him, either through donations or by organizing charity galas to raise funds.
Thus in particular the humorist Santi Rodríguez organized a charity gala in Valencia on May 30, 2013 in which renowned artists participated altruistically to obtain benefits so that Paco Sanz treated his illness, paying all the expenses of the Santiago Rodríguez organization, there is also a zero row available to anyone so that those who cannot attend the gala and wish to help Francisco Sanz could do so through a bank transfer.
In this gala, the amount of 3,000 euros that were given to Francisco Sanz was collected from the sale of tickets with the aim of helping him pay for the alleged medical treatment he was undergoing in the United States.
Publishing a book
In that same year 2013 and in the belief that he was helping the accused in the fight of his illness and obtaining financial resources, the book called ‘Paco Sanz, a life of dreams, a life of struggle’ was published, written by Miguel Hervas Abad, the prologue being written by the youtuber ‘AuronPlay’; and the epilogue by Pedro García Aguado, former professional athlete and host of various television programs.
Finally he managed to get the book published in the Iris publishing house with the goal that 50% of each sold copy would go to the accused to once again raise funds. The sale price to the public was 12 euros per copy, reaching 364 copies being sold, obtaining 2,184 euros through this channel.
Also during 2013, Paco Sanz contracted with the Altiria company the 25600 instant messaging line that was operational on February 8, 2017 in which interested persons could send an SMS with the word Paco with a cost per SMS of 1.45 euros receiving the accused 60% of the amount of each SMS. In total 12,312 people sent 17,497 SMS with the word Paco to 25600. In this way, he obtained an income of 13,384.86 euros.
At the end of 2015 and until 2017, the defendant maintained a sentimental relationship with Lucía Carmona, “which having knowledge of the modus vivendi of Paco Sanz consisting of the request for altruistic donations to pay for the alleged treatment of his illness when in reality he used the money for your profit. ”