3 Feb 2013

Comparing benefit thieves' sentences

Melanie Cleeve falsely claimed she was not working and claimed £14,257 in benefits from Wokingham Borough Council. She was given a 12-month community order and must complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.

Javad Khan, 40, defrauded the council over benefit claimed by his parents between 2006 and 2009 and was overpaid £33,274. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 140 hours’ unpaid work. Khan must also pay £1,500 court costs.

He will be doing fewer hours of unpaid work.

Meanwhile, Rhona Brennan, from Southport, claimed nearly £60,000 in benefits while running a business. She was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work. She was also given a four-month curfew order, from 8pm to 7am.

Fewer hours although she stole more money. Could that be because she is a mother of three, or is it just inconsistent sentencing?

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