A former Ipswich woman who fraudulently claimed over £27,000 in social care payments has received a suspended sentence. 

Hannah Colley, of Fiddlers Folley, Colchester has been sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, after previously pleading guilty to failing to disclose information that she was under a legal duty to disclose, between 2018 and 2022.

Colley had been claiming care payments in Suffolk, but later submitted a claim for social care direct payments from Essex County Council. 

Concerns were raised during a social care review last summer that Colley had not providing evidence on how her payments had been spent. 

During the initial stages of the investigation, it was established that she was registered to a GP practice in Colchester. 

The concerns were referred to the Council's Counter Fraud Service, who found Colley had moved from Ipswich to Colchester in 2018. 

Her move to Essex meant she would no longer be eligible for funding from Suffolk County Council and tha she had been claiming a second direct payment from Essex County Council since June 2020.

During this period she received £27,643.68 in direct payments from Suffolk County Council.

As well as receiving a suspended sentence, Colley was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement for 10 days and abide by a curfew.

This curfew will require her to stay indoors nightly, for 26 weeks, between 8pm and 8am. 

The court also ordered her to pay compensation of £27,643.68, as well as costs of £6,100 and a victim surcharge of £154.

Ipswich Star: Cllr Beccy HopfenspergerCllr Beccy Hopfensperger (Image: Simon Lee Photography)

Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care said: "Fraud of any type is a despicable crime, but fraud committed against the social care system, in effect stealing money used to provide the care and support for old and potentially vulnerable people, is especially cruel in my view.

"The sentence in this case is therefore a good outcome for adult social care, and I thank Suffolk County Council’s Counter-Fraud team and Legal Services for their hard work in prosecuting this case.

"I hope this will serve as a warning to others, be in no doubt - we will always pursue and prosecute people who steal from the social care system.”