Published On: Thu, Nov 2nd, 2023

Benefits scammer lied about having cancer to get up to £23,000 in DWP payments | Personal Finance | Finance

A fraudster who lied about having cancer to claim benefit payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been jailed.

Joan Lesley Clarke, 62, forged fake letters from cancer specialists to scam the DWP and get payments.

Ms Clarke admitted three charges of fraud by false representation, four of making an article for use in fraud and one of possessing criminal property.

She was jailed for 10 months during her sentence hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, where the judge heard that she claimed £22,941.01 in Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Prosecutor Gareth Roberts outlined in court that Ms Clarke pleaded guilty to all offences a fortnight before her trial was due to start.

Read more: DWP payout could see thousands of benefits claimants given £5,300 back payment

According to Mr Roberts, Ms Clarke submitted an application to DWP for support as she claimed to be “unfit for work”.

As evidence, the 62-year-old used a note purportedly from a consultant but it appears to have been falsified.

Despite the fraud, the fake note helped her claim nearly £23,000 in benefits between March 2016 and April 2019.

In March 2016, Ms Clarke submitted a form to the DWP claiming she had terminal ovarian cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and taking medication.

The benefits scammer did so again in August and November 2016 in the form of a PIP review document.

In court, Ms Clarke’s defence pleaded for the jail sentence to be suspended by Judge Aubrey.

The judge explained: “In essence, it can be stated very, very simply – you did not fortunately have cancer, you did not and have not got a chronic condition, but you did maintain throughout and dishonestly that you did.

“Even when evidence was obtained from Clatterbridge that you were not suffering from cancer, you continued to purport that you did when specifically asked.

“That was a lie, and an endeavour to pull the wool over the court’s eye.

“In my judgement, these are extremely serious offences, and regrettably, you appear to have a dishonest vein running all the way through your body. You are a fraudster.”

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