9 Aug 2013

£75k benefits thief gets off very lightly

Sarah Burns, 37, took income support, council tax and housing benefits worth around £75,797 over a period of nine years and seven months which she was not entitled to.

Warrington Crown Court heard how she had been living with her estranged husband and the pair were living separate lives.

But instead of telling benefits bosses she was no longer alone she carried on receiving the money.

She had already paid back £666 when she came to the attention of the authorities.

Mark Connor, defending, said:
She did offer to pay the money back. While she did make a legitimate claim to begin with, she felt because they weren’t living together in a normal marital life, she was in a position to continue to make the claim. She has never been through this process before and is extremely mortified to be before the court. This has brought great shame on her and her family.
Judge David Hale said:
We have all paid and you have taken 70 odd thousand pounds from us as the community over the years, money you were not entitled to. Fortnight by fortnight the money was coming. You have been dreading a knock on the door for years which you also knew was likely to come. You have had to wait for a very long time with this hanging over you with you thinking you were going to end up in HMP Styal.
Judge Hale handed Burns a 36-week suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud and was ordered to complete a 12-month supervision order.
  • 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!


Anonymous said...

In the years since you've been employed to write this blog, I'd estimate you've 'stolen' rather more than £75K from the unwitting taxpayers. What a pointless job - reminiscent of Arthur Dent.

John Page said...

How I love reasoned criticism of this blog - strangely, almost always by people who abuse the anonymous posting concession.

As it says above the comment box where you wrote your comment:

"The anonymous posting facility is for benefit system employees. Other posters are expected to say who they are."

I do wonder who you think is employing me, though.

Answer: No one.

Feel free to apologise.

Anonymous said...

My apologies. My incorrect assumption was that you are employed by one of the government's nudge units.

I am not a benefits system employee and apologies once again for abusing your anonymous posting facility. I am a benefits claimant who has paranoid schizophrenia and has been assessed as entitled to ESA in the support group, but I find the continual rhetoric surrounding benefit fraud reminiscent of conditions in Hitler's Germany circa 1935, where people like myself were regarded as an economic drain - what we call the Holocaust actually started with disabled people.

I know I am an economic drain and I can only say in mitigation that my life expectancy is twenty years less than most of the population, yet I am frightened that the campaign against the disabled will escalate to open eugenics soon.

Anonymous said...

the benefits system is a disgrace.genuinely sick people being humiliated during examinations , some being left suicidal because they are being subjected to sanctions which are unjustified,people that have worked hard all of their lives whilst paying tax being stripped of benefits,people who have saved all of their working lives to have some money being made redundant through no fault of their own being prosecuted for not wanting to spend their hard earned money (which they have paid tax on) before claiming benefits.the tory creator of this site fails to see the big picture.the conservative party have totally wrecked the benefits system.i will remain anonymous because i want to.....