2 May 2013

More light sentences for big benefit frauds

A benefit cheat who fraudulently claimed £55,000 she was not entitled to has been prosecuted by Watford Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Maxine Fagan, from Garston, pleaded guilty to obtaining Housing and Council Tax Benefit dishonestly and was sentenced yesterday.

She failed to declare that she had savings of more than £16,000, and that she was working.

Because of this, Fagan received more than £55,000 worth of benefits to which she was not entitled.

Fagan was sentenced at St Albans Magistrates Court to a ten month suspended sentence and is required to undertake 140 hours unpaid work.


A benefits cheat claimed almost £75,000 over 13 years by failing to declare her partner was living with her and working in a Yorkshire pudding factory.

Roselyn Wadkin, 55, was caught after she was put under surveillance following an anonymous tip off about her living arrangements.

Evidence was gathered which proved her long-term partner Steven Morley had been living with her at her council house in Belle Isle, Leeds.

Wadkin was spared jail after a court heard prison would add to her serious health problems.

The grandmother was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to attend a 50-day programme designed to address her behaviour after she pleaded guilty to eight offences of making a false representation. Leeds Crown Court heard Wadkin told authorities she was a single parent when she moved into her home on Low Grange View, Belle Isle, in 1998.

The reality was that Mr Morley was also living at the property with her.

He gave the same address to his employers, had Wadkin as his emergency contact and arranged for his wages to be paid into her bank account.

Wadkin lied about her circumstances between 1998 and 2011 to claim income support and job seekers’ allowance as well as housing and council tax benefits.

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said the amount of illegal claims came to £74,804.

Wadkin initially denied the offences but admitted the deception after being shown evidence. Narinder Rathour, mitigating, said there had been a “degree of pressure” placed on her by Mr Morley, who worked as a packer in a Yorkshire pudding factory. The lawyer added that he had kept most of the illegally claimed money for himself and they split up after Wadkin was arrested.

Mr Rathour said Wadkin suffered from physical and mental health problems and would be a vulnerable prisoner if she was sent to custody.

Judge Paul Hatton, QC, said:
That is a significant amount of money that your obtained by your deception. I accept that your offending was, to some extent, influenced by your then partner, although that does not provide any form of excuse. It was certainly within your power to avoid this dishonesty.

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.

Hit them in the pocket!

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