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1 Jun 2013

Stourbridge mum jailed over £110k benefit scam

A Stourbridge mum who fiddled more than £110k in benefits because she thought she "could get away with it" has been jailed for 15 months. (h/t Dave)

Recorder Christopher Donnellan QC told 53-year-old mother of two Valerie Garbett it was clear she had "cheated" the system for nine years - "a significant period of time."

Garbett told investigators after her arrest the money had gone on "buying better quality trainers for the children and family holidays."

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Garbett’s scam ran from 2002 to 2011 when she began claiming benefits on the basis she and her husband were unemployed even though he had a full-time job.

Philip Garbett, her 57-year-old husband, obtained NHS vouchers and three pairs of glasses during the fiddle when, said the Recorder, he had "aligned himself to the position taken by his wife."

Valerie Garbett admitted four charges of benefit fraud and was jailed.

Philip Garbett, a lorry driver of the same address, also admitted fraud and was placed on supervision for a year, ordered to carry out 40 hours unpaid work in the community and to pay £590 compensation to the NHS.

Siobhan Collins prosecuting said investigations revealed Philip Garbett had been employed full time since 2002.

The total overpayment was £110,063, said Miss Collins, and when interviewed Valerie Garbett maintained her husband had been totally ignorant about her actions.

Simon Williams defending Valerie Garbett told the court she accepted full responsibility for the fraud. He said: "After it started she did not know how to stop. She is full of remorse for what she has done."

Full of remorse for stealing for nine years? More like full of remorse for getting caught.

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