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11 May 2014

Stiff sentence for £1,119 benefit fraud

A funeral director who falsified a tenancy agreement and bank statements has been given a suspended prison sentence. Funeral director Andrew Francis, who runs funeral services in Swaffham and Watton, has founded the Francis Foundation, a charity designed to assist in the payment of children's funerals.

Francis, whose address was given as c/o A Francis Funeral Service in Middle Street, pleaded guilty to making a false statement or representation to gain benefit.

He had claimed he had moved into the flat above the funeral home on Middle Street, Watton, and had a rental liability at that address. He pleaded guilty to falsifying a tenancy agreement, claiming he was a tenant at that address, and to falsifying Barclays Bank statements, purporting to show payments of rental liability. The offences took place between October 11, 2012 and January 1, 2013. The amount of benefit overpayment was £1,119.20.

Francis was given to a five-month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours’ unpaid work. He was also told to pay £729 in compensation and £2,000 in prosecution costs.

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