A despicable fraudster pocketed fundraising cash from big-hearted work colleagues after lying that she was terminally ill.
A jail sentence hangs over Ripley mum Teresa Clay,42, who was granted full pay by caring bosses while supposedly off work having medical treatment.
She started her full-time job at Storm DFX, on Nix Hill industrial estate, Alfreton, in August 2011. She complained of a sore throat after a few weeks and told her employers she had to undergo further investigations in hospital. She then said she had been diagnosed with throat cancer.
Clay worked only mornings while claiming she was having radiotherapy.
“She then said doctors had found a second cancer in her throat and she needed chemotherapy.
By November she said she could only take liquid food,” Mike Treharne, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates.
Clay went on to claim she had to move to her parents’ home following a house fire, her ex-partner had thrown acid over her car bonnet and, in December, the vehicle blew up.
“Her employers were very concerned for her welfare. They hired a car for her for four weeks while she got hers fixed,” Mr Treharne told the court.
In March, Clay told work she had had a throat operation. The following month she claimed her one remaining kidney was malfunctioning and she couldn’t afford a dialysis machine.
“Work colleagues took it upon themselves to do fund-raising. One did a ten-mile run and paid £300 to her. There was no problem with her kidneys. The workforce were completely taken in by her deceit.
“She was paid £3,618 she wasn’t entitled to. It’s a tale of deceit that’s really quite awful,” said Mr Treharne, adding that the fraud came to light after Clay quit her job to work for National Grid.
Clay, of Honeyfield Drive, admitted fraud between last August 15 and May 22 by making false claims that she was terminally ill. She had no previous convictions.
The justices said she had told “lie after lie” in an “unbelievable level of deceit” and imposed a six-month jail term - but they suspended it for a year.
They ordered her to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £3,618 compensation to Storm DFX and £300 to Jodie Stuart, with £85 costs.
Stacey White, for Clay, said she did not accept all the allegations but it was accepted it was “a fairly despicable offence”.
Ms White said Clay’s debts had “spiralled out of control” at the time.
She added: “She regrets her actions every day. She feels embarrassed and ashamed. She hasn’t told her family about it.”
Probation officer Julia Gillott said Clay was on medication for depression “possibly linked to a past abusive relationship”. She lived with her teenage son and worked as a full-time receptionist for National Grid in Blackwell, she told the magistrates.