A man who falsely claimed more than £20,000 in social care funds and paid them to himself has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence. 

Andrew Leacock, formerly of Coronation Road in Ipswich, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court for creating and submitting false documents and expense claims between October 2017 and February 2021.

Leacock, 60, made claims, totalling £20,046, on behalf of his partner, who was eligible to receive additional support from the county council due to a disability. 

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He had taken complete control of his partner's direct payments, receiving Suffolk County Council funds into his own bank account. 

The fraud was spotted in 2021 when a social care financial review raised concerns over how the payments had been used.

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There were inconsistencies relating to claims being made for cleaning, ironing, and gardening services.

Mr Leacock claimed that payments were being made to three individuals to provide care to his partner, however, it was revealed these people did not exist and he kept the funds for himself.  

In December 2022, he pleaded guilty to making or supplying an article for use in connection with fraud.

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Andrew Leacock has now been sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years, 30 days of rehabilitation activity and ordered to pay £1,800 in compensation.

Speaking after the sentencing, Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care, said: "This is a good result for adult social care in Suffolk, and I want to thank the Counter-Fraud Team and Legal Services for their hard work in successfully prosecuting this case. 

"I hope this outcome serves as a clear warning to others who may be thinking of trying to defraud social care. Suffolk County Council will always vigorously pursue and prosecute people who steal from the tax payer.”