Yorkshire Cancer charity fraudster ordered to pay £26k

Patricia Robertshaw, 42, was the events manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research in Harrogate, when she claimed she had been diagnosed with the disease
Patricia Robertshaw, 42, was the events manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research in Harrogate, when she claimed she had been diagnosed with the disease
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A woman who pretended to have cancer to defraud a charity in an "abhorrent" case of fraud has been told she must repay the money she stole.

Patricia Robertshaw, 42, was the events manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research in Harrogate, when she claimed she had been diagnosed with the disease in January 2017.

She took sick leave, on full pay, to attend medical appointments which did not occur.

It was also revealed she fraudulently claimed to have qualifications, including a PhD, and subsequently obtained a promotion based on the qualification, which she didn't have.

Police also discovered that she had worked for a university and had given fake qualification certificates to students.

Robertshaw, of Barrowford, Lancashire, was jailed for four years and five months in March this year, after she pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and forging certificates.

Speaking after Robertshaw was jailed at York Crown Court, Detective Constable Shane Martin, who led the case for North Yorkshire Police, said: “This is the most abhorrent fraud case I have investigated in 25 years of being a police officer. It’s absolutely incomprehensible that anyone could lie about having such a serious illness.

“Everything about the way Robertshaw conducted herself during this fraud is astonishingly unethical. It was a callous and calculated crime to try to trick her former employer – a charity that works for the good of real cancer patients and uses donations made in good faith to fund life-changing services and research.

“Fortunately though, the charity detected that something was amiss and that led to an extensive fraud investigation by North Yorkshire Police.”

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) proceedings began following Robertshaw’s conviction, during which time the value of property she owned was identified as available assets for confiscation.

At a POCA hearing on Monday at York Crown Court, Mr Recorder Cook ordered that the defendant had benefited from her offences to the value of £26,207.00.

A Confiscation Order was made for Robertshaw to pay this as compensation to Yorkshire Cancer Research within three months or face an additional 12 months' imprisonment.