Woman Jailed For Lying And Pretending She Had Cancer Just To Defraud Charity Of £86,000 

A woman who defrauded a charity by pretending she had cancer and using fake degree certificates to get work has now been jailed. Patricia Robertshaw, 42, used fraudulent documents to obtain her role at Yorkshire Cancer Research, in Harrowgate, where she worked as an events manager. She then lied about her medical condition and took three months’ of sick pay while pretending to be undergoing radiotherapy.In reality, she used the time off to apply for other jobs with more fake degree certificates, including a masters in science and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Leeds. She also claimed to have a masters in project management from Leeds Metropolitan University, which had previously helped her to earn a £10,250 a year pay rise at the charity. Between September 2015 and November 2017, she earned a total of £86,833 at the organisation, including the pay rise, which she earned for a period of seven months. Robertshaw was finally caught out on her web of lies when other workers at the cancer charity scanned QR codes she had submitted on sick notes and found that they were invalid. She pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and one of forgery and was sentenced to four years and five months in jail.Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told her: ‘Embedded in the charity as you were, you would have known the good that money would have done.’ He said of her cancer claims: ‘Those claims were as bogus as the qualifications you had used. This led to you claiming, without any apparent sense of shame, that you had cancer while working for a cancer charity. ‘The charity relies upon the generosity of the public and as a result those who should have benefited from the research will have been impacted in some degree by the fraud of the defendant.’ Robertshaw, of Gisburn Road in Barrowford, Lancashire, had told her colleagues she was being treated for cancer at the Airedale General Hospital in Bradford and at Barrowford Surgery in Lancashire, from April 2016. Her employers had twice offered her independent health assessments, but she refused on both occasions, and even went as far as forging sick notes. Whilst on her three-month sick leave, she applied for roles as an events and commercial lead at Manchester City Council and as the head of income generation at the Pendleside Hospice in Burnley, the court heard. She received a conditional offer from the former, which would have paid her a salary of £49,313, and was close to getting an offer from the latter, which had an advertised salary of £36,075, the court heard.Photo Credit: Getty


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