Alleged victims of accused hipster fraudster [The Accused] shocked by jailhouse beating

Jailhouse justice it may appear — but ex-friends of accused cancer-fake [The Accused] are still showing him charity following a savage beating by cellmates.

She’s among the people burned in [The Accused]'s alleged scam of pretending to have cancer to raise cash, but Calgary music promoter Lindsay Shedden says she is horrified to hear of Sunday’s brutal attack.

“Oh man, that’s horrible — that’s absolutely terrible,” said Shedden.

“You never want to hear about that happening to anyone.”

It’s a generous reaction, given [The Accused]’s alleged crime.

This is the 28-year-old hipster, accused of telling elaborate, interwoven lies to win and impress friends, before allegedly faking cancer to empty their wallets.

Shedden, now the director for Sled Island music fest, helped to organize the “[The Accused]’s Cancer Smasher Benefit Bash” to help her friend, who claimed to have brain cancer.

The July 8, 2011, benefit at Calgary’s Broken City bar attracted bands like Miesha and the Spanks, as well as a crowd of friends and associates all keen to support the ailing [The Accused].

Police can only lay charges for cash they can prove was defrauded, and receipts from the night — including a silent auction featuring a guitar, bicycle and other items — raised roughly $7,500.

But countless other wallets were opened to fill a jar with cash for [The Accused], who reportedly claimed to be a U.S. citizen without Canadian health care coverage.

That jar, coupled with the auction money, meant close to $10,000 was raised — and if police are right about the cancer scam, Canadian-born [The Accused] deserved not a single dime.

But he also didn’t deserve a jailhouse beating, says Shedden.

If anyone should be wanting revenge, it’s the woman who helped put the entire show together, but Shedden says the only justice she wants will come in court.

More charitably still, she’s wondering why Calgary Remand Centre officials didn’t protect [The Accused], a small guy accused of a particularly loathsome crime.

“He needs to be kept safe in there — if it happened once, it’ll happen again,” said Shedden.

“I can’t believe that kind of opportunity actually arises.”

The opportunity, taken by someone in the Remand Centre who didn’t like Cook, left accused con-artist with a lacerated spleen, a broken nose and a chipped tooth.

That’s according to [The Accused]’s lawyer, Joel Chevrefils, who says his client is recovering from the multi-assailant beating in hospital, while fearing a return to jail.

And he should be scared, says another former friend, who describes [The Accused] as a “pipsqueak” who couldn’t possibly defend himself in prison.

“He’s 5-foot-4 and about 98 lbs., so no, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d get (beat up) in jail,” said Darren Ollinger.

“Not in the least.”

And though Ollinger can understand why other inmates in Remand might not like a guy accused of faking a nasty disease, the ex-[Accused] supporter says officials at the jail should protect him.

“It’s pretty brutal that they didn’t,” said Ollinger.

[The Accused]’s story starting to fall apart soon after the Broken City benefit, first when the supposedly broke brain cancer victim showed up with a brand new laptop, and later when family told the truth.

He had claimed his cancer closely mirrored a sister who’d died of the same disease — but when contacted by the Sun, [The Accused]’s dad said his son was an only child.

[The Accused] was arrested last Tuesday in Victoria by police acting on a tip, and flown to Calgary to face charges. including two counts of fraud over $5,000 and the accusation of raising more than $7,500 under false pretences.

Tagged as
Fraud and Theft