Mansfield fraudster forged sick notes and claimed to have cancer

Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

A Mansfield woman who forged sick notes and claimed to have breast cancer because she couldn't face going into work has been sent to the crown court.

Leanne Hooks downloaded official documents from the internet and adapted them so she could receive more than £5,000 in sick pay, between September 29, 2017, and August 12, 2018.

But her boss at online retailer UK Home Shopping Ltd uncovered the deception when he used her work computer to check an invoice, said prosecutor Robert Carr.

"He described an elaborate web of illusion and said the defendant had called his wife at home in tears," he said.

"There was no thought to question what she was saying and they never imagined someone would make up such a web of deceit."

In police interview, Hooks accepted forging the sick notes and said she had personal problems and couldn't face going into work, Mr Carr added.

The court heard she was imprisoned in 2011 for a £69,000 fraud and appeared in court again, in 2015, when it was revealed she had lied about her record to obtain a job.

The total loss to the company was £5,077 in sick pay from the 55 days she took off during the 19 months she worked as a buyer at the company.

Ian Pridham, mitigating, said: "There is a lot of personal mitigation. It's clear that she had quite considerable mental health issues.

"She had an horrific experience in prison and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"She told police she wishes she had cancer and that she was dead.

"I think she got a job that was out of her depth."

Hooks, 33, of Dewberry Gardens, Forest Town, admitted fraud and making articles for use in fraud, when she appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Friday.

Magistrates ruled the case should be sent to Nottingham Crown Court because of the sophistication of the sick notes and the fraud happened over a long period.

She was bailed until September 6.

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