15 Jan 2013

Another benefit thief gets a conditional discharge

The mother of a £6million tax fraudster jailed for four years has herself been in the dock – after admitting being a benefit cheat. (h/t Dave)

Klara Dvorkovits moved in to daughter Victoria Chambers' Kings Hill home while she was on trial.

Dvorkovits had agreed with the authorities to look after Chambers' four children, two of whom were privately educated, at the gated Hollandbury Park £780,000 home. Chambers was sent to prison along with her husband Youri Khomitch.

Dvorkovits claimed housing and council tax benefits but failed to tell Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council she was related to her landlord – her daughter – resulting in an overpayment of £8,965 housing benefit.

It was discovered that, even though there was an outstanding mortgage on her daughter's six-bedroomed home, this was being met from her and her husband's frozen bank account funds.

It also emerged that Chambers, who admitted previous shoplifting convictions at her December 2010 Croydon Crown Court hearing, had encouraged her mother to complete the benefit claim.

Newspaper reports of the trial claim Chambers enjoyed a luxury lifestyle, including having £4,250 breast enlargements at Harley Street, holidays in New York, California, Dubai, Egypt, Turkey and Thailand as well as skiing and scuba-diving trips.

Dvorkovits, 62, pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on December 17 to benefit fraud.

After lengthy mitigation by her solicitor on the unusual circumstances and the plight she had been left in by her daughter's sentence, she was given a conditional discharge for two years.

If she does not re-offend in this time her punishment will be just the £250 costs to the council she has been ordered to pay.

Ms Dvorkovits was told she must not fill in and sign forms which she did not understand.

Magistrates took into account her early guilty plea and said they had reduced the conditional discharge sentence from three years to two.

Councillor Martin Coffin, TMBC's cabinet member for finance, said: "The benefit investigation team will continue to follow up every lead. This is just one more example of our determination to ensure fraudsters are caught and brought to justice."
  • This sentence is wholly inadequate, a slap in the face for the taxpaying public and for the council's fraud investigators.

    Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should know they will have to pay back twice what they stole. They should not be eligible for any benefits until they have, and they should have to do some unpaid work every week until the debt to society is cleared.

    That would be a deterrent.

    A confiscation order should be made immediately.

    Any benefit thieves who don't go to prison should also have to do unpaid work.

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