24 Sep 2014

No jail for £61k benefits fraud mother

A benefits cheat has avoided jail after she admitted stealing more than £60,000 from the public purse. (h/t Dave)

Mother of two Amanda Finlay, from Saughall, Chester, repeatedly lied about her circumstances for six years to obtain a string of housing, council tax and other benefits which she used to pay off her debts, Chester Crown Court heard.

Finlay carried out her fraudulent council tax, income support, housing benefit and tax credits claims under her maiden name of Heritage while living with husband-to-be Kevin Finlay.

While claiming to be a single parent living alone, Finlay received more than £25,000 in housing benefit and more than £21,000 in tax credits. She also received income support with the total sum claimed put at £61,284, said Simon Berkason, prosecuting.

The claims were made over a five to six-year period, starting towards the end of June and beginning of July 2007 until February of last year. Benefits investigators then became suspicious and interviewed Finlay, who immediately owned up to her wrongdoing.

Finlay, who wept in the dock, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and to one count of being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity. Mr Berkason told the court: “There were multiple frauds and there were multiple occasions when this could have been put right by the defendant.”

Robin Boag, defending, said Finlay’s actions were not carried out with “cold blooded intent” and pleaded against a prison sentence being imposed. “This is a lady who has no previous convictions,” he said. “She is remorseful for her actions but it is not a case in which she has enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, or in which she has been enjoying exotic holidays, or is in posession of fancy motor cars,” added Mr Boag, who said Finlay had used the money to settle debts.

Finlay was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, by Judge Raj Shetty, who told her:
The amount of monies you fraudulently claimed was quite staggering. I am satisfied that if you had not have been stopped and caught you would have carried on. You have told the court that you used the monies because you were in debt. My reaction to that is ‘so what?’. Many other hardworking people have to work hard to make ends meet and by doing what you did you took from the needy. You took those benefits to make your life easy.

Finlay was also ordered to wear an electronic tag with a curfew for 12 months and must pay £85 costs.


Mishi said...

Every week that someone fails to inform the relevant authorities that their circumstances have changed should be counted as an individual offence.

This greedy cow should have been charged with 300+ counts of fraud, not 3.

Anonymous said...

You do know that if you take deductions from someones benefit to pay off an overpayment, their social/support work will ask this to be reduced to £3.00 per week to avoid 'financial hardship'.

So she will be dead before its 'paid off'.

Anonymous said...

she is riding around in a fancy motorcar now which she has on motability who says crime does not pay