Pregnant cat bill fraudster from Leighton Buzzard ordered to repay over £30,000

The 30-year-old was also given a two-year suspended sentence

Friday, 28th May 2021, 11:40 am

A pregnant fraudster from Leighton Buzzard who manipulated a woman with mental health problems out of £30,000 after inventing fantasy illnesses about her cat has been ordered to repay the lot.

Rebecca Foord, 30, of Drakes Avenue, was asked to look after tabby cat Abbie* after the victim suffered a mental health crisis - and was paid a lofty £170 per month in return.

Over time, Foord went on to invent false illnesses and vets bills for the cat - conning the woman out of £30,233 which was used to repay debts, a mobile phone bill and car insurance.

Luton Crown Court

Eventually, the victim became suspicious after trying to reclaim the money on her veterinary insurance and called police.

Yesterday (May 27), at Luton Crown Court, Foord pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was ordered to repay the amount in full - while being handed a suspended two year sentence.

Prosecutor Neil King said: "Between September 7, 2018, and July 9, 2019, the defendant had been asked by the victim to look after her cat Abbie, while she was unwell suffering mental health issues. This [her mental health issues] would have been known to the defendant.

"Over the months, Rebecca Foord asked the victim for various payments - saying that Abbie was unwell and needed lots of operations."

When the victim later asked Foord for receipts from the vets, in order to claim on her insurance, Mr King said Foord "essentially fobbed her off" with excuses.

The cat was then rehomed with another friend as police became involved. Foord, who has no previous convictions, confessed straight away to her offences.

Mr King added: "The defendant abused a position of trust for a prolonged period of time, and deliberately targeted the victim, who was vulnerable."

The case has since undergone multiple adjournments.

Oliver Small, defending, said Foord was remorseful for her actions and was willing to repay the amount in full from the equity of her home.

He said: "Her baby is due on August 16 and it's a high risk pregnancy because she's had two miscarriages before and has a high BMI.

"Pregnant women are also at high risk with the effects of Covid and she's now off work and isolating as much as possible."

Passing sentence, Judge Gary Lucie described Foord's actions as an "abuse of trust" but said he took her advanced pregnancy into account.

He added courts had been instructed to impose a higher number of suspended sentences due to the effects of Covid on prisons.

The judge warned Foord she must repay the amount in eight weeks or face a confiscation order.

* The LBO has changed the name of the cat to protect the victim's anonymity.

■ We understand that some people may be angry or upset to see their name published here but covering court cases acts as a deterrent against crime and it is important that justice is being seen to be done.

Under English Law, it is a general principle that criminal court proceedings for adults should be held openly and in public. Verdicts and sentences are normally given out in open court and so are in the public domain. Newspapers such as ours therefore have the right to publish outcomes of all such criminal court cases.

You can read more about what to expect if you have appeared in court on the IPSO website HERE