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25 Sep 2014

Benefit thief will need 41 years to pay back £103k

Benefit cheat Donna Osborne pocketed £103,441 in a seven-year swindle – after claiming she lived alone.

The 50-year-old was raking in £265 a week in handouts after telling the authorities she was an unemployed single mum. But the fraudster later started living with her partner and managed to claim the benefits from 2004 to 2011. Now Osborne of Fegg Hayes, has started repaying the cash – at a rate of just £45 a week.

She has been spared jail at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court to allow her to care for her disabled son.

The prosecution comes as Stoke-on-Trent City Council revealed it has investigated frauds totalling £1.2 million in the past 12 months.

City councillor Alastair Watson, cabinet member for finance, said: “This is one of our largest benefit fraud cases. We will not tolerate those who abuse the system and swindle honest, hard-working taxpayers.”

The 50-year-old had made arrangements for her disabled son’s care after fearing she would be jailed for her £103,441 benefits swindle. But Recorder Christopher Goodchild took into account Osborne’s poor health and the fact her son would be ‘lost without her’. Instead he handed Osborne a suspended prison sentence.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the defendant started legitimately claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit in 1997 as an unemployed lone parent. But in 2004 her partner moved in and she repeatedly failed to tell the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) about the change and was overpaid £103,441 over the next seven years.

The court heard Osborne has £97,000 left to repay at a rate of £45 a week.

It emerged that if Osborne had been honest she would still have been eligible for £230 a week in other benefits. She was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now the court case is over, will she continue to pay £45 per week?

When I worked for the Central Recovery Group, people offered £1 per week, and didnt even keep to that!