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8 Dec 2014

"Single parent" benefit thief thumbs her nose at the courts

A benefit cheat who fraudulently claimed more than £40,000 and failed to attend court on ten occasions has received a suspended jail term. (h/t Dave)

Julie Watkins, from Rugby, was finally arrested under warrant on November 26 and taken to Leamington Magistrates Court, where she pleaded guilty to making a false statement in order to claim benefits.

Miss Watkins fraudulently claimed a total of £40,849 between April 2009 and March 2013 - £26,989 in housing benefit, £13,090 in income support and £768 in council tax benefit.

The 39-year-old applied for the benefits on the basis she had separated from her partner and was a single parent.

But Rugby Borough Council and the DWP launched a joint investigation into her benefit claims after receiving a tip-off she was living with her partner.

When questioned, Watkins said her partner visited her home daily to see the children, but insisted he never stayed overnight.

She claimed she was unaware her partner's wages were paid into her bank account, and denied he supported her financially. (!!)

However, when her partner was questioned he admitted he had been in a continuous relationship with Watkins since 2009 and shared the same address. He said he was unaware Watkins had been claiming benefits, and only became aware when she asked him to leave the family home in April 2013 after admitting to him an investigation had been launched into her benefit claims.

Magistrates sentenced Watkins to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 24 months. She was also given a 24 month supervision order with a requirement to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Watkins must repay the fraudulently claimed income support to the DWP, and the fraudulently claimed housing and council tax benefits to Rugby Borough Council.

Source

She doesn't seem to have been punished for ignoring the court ten times.

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