Uncategorized

Cancer survivor used the names of children to defraud charity out of cash in lockdown

todayJune 20, 2022 1

Background
share close

A cancer sufferer had gone into remission by the time he used the names of children he knew to defraud Macmillan Cancer Support of multiple payments which were supposed to be a one-off. Steven Booth, of Milton Road, Ilkeston, had battled cancer for eight years or so and had been ill for a very long time, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard.

The dad-of-four received a legitimate payment of £350 to help with the extra costs that living with cancer can bring such as energy bills, home adaptions and cost of travel to and from hospital. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the application for grants was usually done on the patients behalf by a health carer.

But when the deadly virus hit, leaving cancer patients more vulnerable and exposed, the system allowed the cancer sufferer to make the application themselves – something Booth took advantage of over and over again. He contacted the charity’s welfare rights team on multiple occasions using different names, including those of two children who did not have cancer.

READ MORE: Man accused of arriving in England without coronavirus testing kit

Dominic Hockley, a barrister representing the charity, told magistrates the grants are intended to be a one-off but on four occasions he received the sum of £350 – the maximum allowance. And, on three more occasions, a sum was not paid to Booth after the call handlers flagged concerns about the caller.

A total of £1,400 was paid out to self-employed painter and decorator Booth and an attempt was made by him to pocket a further £700.

Connections were made between Booth’s phone numbers, bank accounts, names and address, the purported diagnosis, and a search of his Facebook profile showed some of the names he had given The calls he made were listened to by investigators and they recognised the voice was similar across all calls – despite purporting to be different people.

Booth, wearing a pale grey checked suit, pale coloured shirt and black boots, cried in court after he pleaded guilty to fraud between September 1, 2021, and October 31, 2021. Mr Hockley described what he did as an “concerted effort to defraud Macmillan Cancer Support” citing there were mutiple calls made for each claim.

Booth, 45, has a string of previous convictions for offences of criminal damage, drink-driving, using threatening behaviour, theft from a dwelling, obtaining property by deception and battery. Jim Buckley, mitigating, told the court Booth was desperate at the time and his profession was one of the hardest hit by lockdown.

Financially Booth was in “dire straits”. He was in mortgage arrears and he made the “mental decision” to apply for further grants from Macmillan, said Mr Buckley. Booth told magistrates: “I’m sorry. I really am”.

He explained how he “just panicked” and was £27,000 in arrears. He was two weeks late with his self-assessment furlough claim and had “nowhere to go”.

Magistrates felt it was so serious his sentence was 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours of unpaid work and a payment to the charity of £1,400 compensation and a victim surcharge of £128.

To read all the biggest and best stories first sign up to read our newsletters here.

Written by: thehitnetwork

Rate it

Previous post

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


0%