Computer
failure let
fraudster
fake birth

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A COMPUTER system failure allowed a benefits fraudster to register the birth of a fake baby.

Sarah Phipps, 46, stuffed clothes under her top in a bid to fool police officers into thinking she was pregnant when they visited her home in Holbeck.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that Phipps told a string of different stories to try and cover her tracks, including that she had wanted the certificate before giving birth and that she had already had the baby in Boston, America.

Phipps, of Meynell Heights, Holbeck, was also found to have claimed almost £3,000 in Jobseekers’ Allowance under a fake name and to have stolen a doctor’s ID badge from Leeds General Infirmary to commit more frauds.

Her crimes first came to light at Leeds Town Hall on August 30 last year when she tried to register the birth of Camariah Ameka Kirkland. Computer problems meant medical records were not checked and the birth was registered.

Hannah Bray, defending, said: “She had returned from seeing her estranged husband in Jamaica and was effectively homeless and was sleeping in the hospital chapel for a number of days.

“She was pregnant whilst in Jamaica but had a miscarriage. When she returned to the UK she was very emotionally imbalanced.

“She removed the items from the doctor’s bag to make a fraudulent claim to forge documents to claim benefits.

“She is not able to give a coherent explanation as to what she would have used the money for.”

Phipps pleaded guilty to benefit fraud, wilfully making a false answer relating to a fictitious birth and theft.

The case was committed to Leeds Crown Court for sentencing to take place on Friday, September 7.

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