7 Mar 2015

Judge jails benefit fraud mother

A benefits fraudster from Farnborough, who falsely claimed nearly £140,000 from taxpayers over more than 12 years, has been jailed for 10 months. (h/t Dave)

Mum-of-four Idalian Linton, 43, carried out her offending because she didn’t have a financially supportive partner and wanted the best for her children, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Between January 22, 2001, and November 24, 2013, Linton falsely claimed £59,247 in housing benefits and a further £8,743 in council tax benefits.

During that time, she had been living with partner Jason Daniels - the father of her two daughters aged four and 15 - and claimed housing benefits, despite the fact he was working.

Over an eight-year period from March 26, 2002, through September 22, 2010, Linton also fraudulently claimed £71,662 in income support.

There was also a time when she claimed £196 in Jobseeker's Allowance, the court heard.

The scale of her offending was only discovered after a joint investigation by Rushmoor Borough Council and the DWP.

Judge Jane Rowley, sentencing, said the saddest aspect of the case was that Linton was without a "supportive partner". She added her offending was carried out in respect of her children and that her heart was "in the right place":
You were without financial support, but it’s not an excuse for 10 years of dishonesty which underpins a significant amount of taxpayers’ money being stolen in effect. Benefit fraud is a serious matter when committed over a number of years. I have to send out the right message to people such as you and I have to consider the importance of you having a four-year-old child. If I was not to send you to prison it would seem that anybody with children would be spared prison and that’s not a blanket for the charges. As a judge, this is an awful case to deal with to take you away from your children.
Linton fought back tears as she was led away from the dock by security to begin her jail term. She will spend at least five months in custody.

She admitted six counts of dishonestly failing to notify the local authority of a change in circumstances last month at Aldershot Magistrates' Court - defrauding taxpayers out of more than £139,000.

Linton, who sat throughout in a Parka jacket, also has 15 other convictions for 35 offences including shoplifting, the court heard, the most recent of which happened in 1994.

James Doyle, defending, told how Linton had two grown-up sons - a car mechanic aged 20 and another son being treated for severe schizophrenia aged 25 who calls her "five times a day".

Linton had also battled alcoholism since the death of her brother in 2013, Mr Doyle said.

He added: “Why have these offences been committed over such a long period of time? Well the answer given is relatively straight forward. She has stated that as far as Jason [Daniels] is concerned, he never provided her with any security. She committed these offences to create a financial security for herself. However, if she’s to go to prison today he will look after his daughters. She is clearly a woman who is lacking in self-esteem and self confidence but throughout at least she has provided some strong emotional support for her children. That is greatly to her credit.”

The court also heard Linton had begun to repay her debts at £140 a month.


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