A woman from Strabane has been sentenced at Dungannon Crown Court today, Friday 2 February, for fraud offences. 

Leon Gallen was sentenced to 18 months – half to be served in custody and half on licence – for 24 charges in relation to fraud committed between August 2018 and January 2021.

Gallen pleaded guilty to all 24 charges of fraud by false representation on 16 November, 2023. 

Commenting after sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Economic Crime Unit, said: "This despicable series of crimes was largely committed by Gallen during the Covid 19 pandemic against people living in the same community as her. Gallen committed this fraud, which ran into tens of thousands of pounds, and saw Gallen divert benefit payments from the rightful recipients to her. She didn’t care about the impact on the victims.

“Today's sentencing is as a result of a complex and lengthy investigation by our Waterside Economic Crime Unit, and I want to thank them for their painstaking work and dedication in this investigation.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each of the victims who trusted us with their ordeal and to seek justice for them. This has been an extremely difficult and distressing time for them and I hope that today's criminal justice outcome provides a level of comfort to them."

Detective Chief Inspector Wilson added: “As a Police Service, we hope this sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone who thinks that they can get away with this type of despicable crime that we will work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts so that victims receive the justice they deserve." 

“If you, or anyone you know, believes they are, or have been, a victim of fraud, call us on 101 or make a report online via www.psni.police.uk/report”