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16 May 2014

"Unrepentant" housing benefit thief goes to prison

A fraudster who claimed to be "a very honest person" after conning Lewisham Council out of nearly £40,000 is beginning a nine-month prison sentence. (h/t Dave)

Geena Lloyd, 50, failed to declare two civil service pensions when she applied for housing and council tax benefit in 2002.

When formally interviewed, Lloyd stated that she did not think that she had to declare the smallest pension, and that she had not received P60s for the larger pension so was not able to submit evidence of the pension payments to the council.

The value of the two pensions was over £16,000 a year.

The fraudster's deception was identified as part of a national data matching exercise co-ordinated by the Audit Commission.

Between 2002 and 2010, she defrauded £33,000 in housing benefit and £6,000 in council tax benefit.

She pleaded that she was innocent throughout the case but following a four-day trial at Woolwich Crown Court in January - where she represented herself - the jury found her guilty on 12 counts of dishonestly making a false statement with a view to claiming benefits.

When Lloyd failed to attend court for sentencing, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was found and arrested in Winchester and held on remand until last week's sentencing.

In mitigation Lloyd stated that calling her “fraudulent” from the outset was defamation as she is “a very honest person”.

In her sentencing remarks, Judge RE Downing said that, in her view, Lloyd has “no sense of guilt for what she has done, not a hint of remorse, apology or understanding” and that custody was “the only appropriate sentence that could be passed”.

As well as her sentence, Lloyd will also have to repay the defrauded money at a rate of £150 a month.

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