Kathleen Duncan admits £38,000 taxi fraud in Fife

Kathleen Duncan Duncan also forged signatures of NHS staff to confirm hospital attendance

A mother has admitted defrauding more than £38,000 from the NHS by claiming travel expenses for fake taxi journeys.

Kathleen Duncan, 44, submitted receipts for up to £160 each, with forged drivers' signatures, to NHS Fife for 13 months.

She claimed they were for her terminally ill children to travel from their Dunfermline home to hospital.

Duncan, pleaded guilty on indictment to defrauding NHS Fife of £38,019 between 1 August 2010 and 29 August 2011.

The 44-year-old, who now lives in South Queensferry, had originally been charged with defrauding the health board of £60,019 by fraud but the Crown accepted a plea to a reduced charge.

She also forged the signatures of NHS staff needed to confirm her attendance at hospital, Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard.

Deferred sentence

Two of her three children have the rare genetic condition Hurler's Syndrome.

The syndrome leaves sufferers physically and mentally disabled, with most living an average of 11 years.

The court heard the children both required regular hospital treatment, both as inpatients and out patients.

Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia said: "In July 2010 one of the children received a bone marrow transplant in Manchester.

"Up until this time the children had regularly attended at Victoria and Forth Park hospitals.

"Following the bone marrow transplant the children's attendance at these hospitals was less frequent."

Records showed that between 1 August 2010 and 29 August 2011 the children had 24 outpatient appointments between them and five separate inpatient stays.

Mr Kapadia said: "Between 12 May 2011 and August 13 2011 neither child attended either Victoria or Forth Park Hospital, yet a claim was made for a taxi journey for every single day during this period."

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released Duncan on bail.

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