18 Mar 2014

Benefit thief mother cries as she is sent to prison

A benefit fraudster was jailed for falsely claiming £74,000 of state handouts.

Wirral mum-of-three Carol Lamb was convicted of three counts of fraud by a jury following a five-day trial in February. She wept in court as she was handed a 12 month prison sentence which it was claimed would leave her a “devastated woman”.

A joint Wirral council and HMRC probe discovered Lamb, 46, claimed thousands of pounds through tax credits, income support and council tax discount after telling authorities she had split from her husband in 2006.

But an investigation into her claims revealed husband Ernest Lamb continued to live with his wife and children – supporting the family financially. On July 9, 2012, police raided the home, where both Mr and Mrs Lamb were present, and Mr Lamb’s belongings – including clothes – were found in the main bedroom.

Let's not be rushing things, now.

The mum insisted while her husband supported her through various illnesses the only financial support she got was a £355 monthly contribution.

That argument failed to convince a jury of her innocence.

At Liverpool crown court Paul Becker, defending, described Lamb as a lady of previous good character. He urged the judge, Mr Recorder of Liverpool David Eccles, to hand the defendant a suspended sentence, adding “she will be a devastated woman” should she be sent to prison.

Lamb, who appeared in court on a crutch, was said to suffer health problems after a slipped disc left her bed-ridden for much of 2007.

In sentencing her to 12 months behind bars Judge Eccles slammed Lamb for lying to the court during her trial. He also criticised her for actions that fed propaganda that “vilified” genuine claimants of benefits:
You not only lied to this jury but you persuaded some of your children to come to court and give evidence which was not credible, not honest, not truthful. I’m aware that you will find prison extremely difficult because of your health problems but I think it would be failing my public duty if I did not sentence you to immediate custody.
Despite fraudulently claiming £74,000 over a five year period, Mrs Lamb would have been entitled to tax credits in the region of £8,500 meaning her total over-payment was around £65,000. She has been ordered to pay the money back.

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