30 Oct 2014

Benefit thief mother escapes jail

A 43-year-old Derby woman cheated the taxpayer of more than £61,000 in illegally claimed benefits.

In what is believed to be one of the highest amounts investigated in Derby, staff at the DWP monitored Amanda Alton, who for six years claimed she was living by herself. But during that period she was living with her husband and even gave birth to their son.

A judge sitting at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court was told that the total amount of money the prosecution and defence agreed had been illegally claimed was £61,066.47.

Judge Jonathan Gosling handed Alton a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, as he felt that putting her behind bars immediately would mean her eight-year-old child would be "the victim" in the case:
Anyone who claims illegally from the public purse to the extent that you did should expect a prison sentence. But I am going to suspend it for a number of reasons. Firstly you pleaded guilty on the first day of your trial which acknowledges your dishonesty. Secondly I have read your pre-sentence report that shows you have been a victim of violence for a number of years. But above all, if I send you to prison today the person who will be the main victim in all this will be your eight-year-old child who will have to be taken into care.
She let it get all the way to trial before her guilty plea.

James Thomas, prosecuting, told the hearing that Alton started claiming benefits in 1999. He said: "The investigation revealed that the defendant was claiming housing benefit, income support and council tax benefit from the relevant authorities. She continued to claim saying she was living at an address by herself but as the investigation continued it revealed that during those dates she was, in actual fact, living with her husband. He was there most of the time and they had a child together and opened a joint bank account."

Mr Thomas said in total Alton illegally claimed £39,711.443 in income support; £17,905.54 in housing benefit and £3,449.50 in council tax benefit.

Sati Harji, for Alton, said her client had now moved from the property. "It is clear there are a multitude of factors which led to this, mainly her poor decision-making."

Judge Gosling also ordered Alton to do 150 hours' unpaid work.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

150 hours unpaid work? By my calculation, that's £406/hour she's been paid.

Can someone tell me why her husband and the child's father cannot look after him whilst she's in jail?

And suspended sentences should be until the money is repaid, not a pathetic 2 years.