The email that made Belle Gibson's tightly-bound web of lies unravel.

In March 2015 – nearly two years to the month after formally registering her business The Whole Pantry, and over a year after landing a book deal worth $125,000 – The Age journalists Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano began hearing whispers not all was how it seemed in the case of wellness blogger Belle Gibson.

They had heard from five people within her “inner circle” that some had doubts about her terminal cancer diagnosis. These whispers would take them on an investigation that proved Gibson, then 27, had faked her illness and fraudulently acquired funds from her book and app on the promise of donating the money to charity.

In their book, The Woman Who Fooled the World: Belle Gibson’s Cancer Con and the Darkness at the Heart of the Wellness Industry, the journalists detailed the moment they sent Gibson an email, asking why she had not donated to the charities she said she supported. They also pressed Gibson on her cancer diagnosis.

Image: Channel 7.

In total, they sent 21 questions in an email was delivered at 3.20pm on a Thursday.

"Gibson immediately hit the phones," the two write of the moment she received the email. "At 3.30pm, she called the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. She spoke to its director of fundraising, apologised for the misunderstanding, and promised to pay $20,000.

"At 4.01pm, she transferred $1,000 to One Girl, a charity that had been chasing her for its promised donation for more than a year, and then sent a screenshot of the internet banking receipt from her phone to its CEO. She fired off emails to the other charities, too."

Toscano and Donelly went on to say at 1.16am the following Friday morning, Gibson finally replied in a 1,500 word email that addressed next to none of the concerns they raised.

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"We sent a second email, again asking the questions she hadn’t answered: where were you diagnosed? What was the prognosis? Where were you treated?


"In the morning, she wrote back.

"....I have been very open and generous with the amount of personal information I have put out into the public domain and have been hurt by that. As such I am not willing to expand on that any further at this point.”

Within a week, reports were made public. First, in The Age, questioning Gibson's donations to charity. Next came a report in the Weekend Australian, questioning her cancer diagnosis.

It was the beginning of the end.

Now, two years after being found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct, Gibson still hasn't paid a cent of her $410,000 fine.

In September 2017, Gibson was handed the fine after it was found that she duped Australians out of half a million dollars by falsely claiming that her brain cancer was cured through alternative therapies.

After facing multiple warnings for not paying the fine for breaches of consumer laws, Gibson has been ordered to appear in the Federal Court on May 14 to explain why.

If she does not appear in court next month, she faces jail.

Earlier this year, A Current Affair filmed the wellness blogger at Melbourne Airport, where she was seen returning from a luxury African holiday.

The Woman Who Fooled the World: Belle Gibson’s Cancer Con and the Darkness at the Heart of the Wellness Industry, is available here.