He had only a few months to live in 2010 already, but Paco Sanz is present at the bar of the court in Madrid on Monday, which sentences him to two years in prison for fraud.
Nicknamed "the man with 2000 tumors", this Spaniard has, for seven years, extracted some 264,780 euros from celebrities and anonymous, to finance an alleged treatment against the disease.
The reason for the donations he begged for on social media was simple: to try an experimental treatment for a suspected terminal cancer.
Appearing regularly on television or on social networks between 2010 and 2017, Paco Sanz had managed to lure stars of national television like Jorge Javier Vazquez, actors or professional sportsmen like the footballer Alvaro Negredo.
In total, several thousand people fell into the trap.
A real disease, but benign tumors
Paco Sanz claimed that he only had a few months to live when his genetic disease, a very real Cowden syndrome diagnosed in 2009, had led to the appearance of "nearly 2000 tumors".
In fact, the reported tumors were benign and did not present immediate risks to his life.
"Taking advantage of his illness", the swindler had drawn up "a plan to obtain illicit financing between 2010 and February 2017", estimates the prosecution.
A website in his name, an eponymous association, paid text messages "send Paco to 25600" for 1.45 euros, a PayPal account or even a charity gala organized by celebrities… Funds were raised by all means.
No hay dolor, no hay límites, la fuerza de voluntad puede con todo.
- Paco Sanz (@paco_sanz) March 4, 2017
With a lot of social media posts and appearances in various media, Paco Sanz alleged that his illness was "much more serious than it really was."
"The only way to save him was to send him to the United States," he said, because "there was no treatment in Spain", continues the prosecution.
In fact, this trip to the United States for an alleged last-chance treatment "consisted of taking part in a free clinical trial," adds the prosecution.
A nurse suspected of social security scam of more than 1.3 million euros
The conviction of Paco Sanz, who pleaded guilty, is well below the six years required by the prosecution.
It also allows him to escape prison, because Spanish law allows for sentences of less than two years.
His companion, an accomplice, was sentenced to one year and nine months of imprisonment and will in fact not go behind bars either.
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Despite these convictions, the trial of the swindler with 2,000 tumors continues for another three days.
The court must now approach the civil aspect of the case and determine the amount of damages.