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9 Apr 2015

Suspended sentence for second time fraudster

A couple who cheated Epsom and Ewell Borough Council out of £26,000 in dishonestly claimed benefits have been spared prison.

Linda Parker, 56, and Raymond Clarke, 60, were found guilty of benefit fraud offences.

Sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Friday, March 27, both were given prison sentences of 26 weeks, suspended for a year, and must adhere to a six-week curfew at their home.

Epsom Council investigated the couple after computer data showed Clarke had lived at the same addresses as Parker, but that information had not been included within her claim for benefits.

Several different documents indicated he had been living at the address, despite claims to the contrary.

In 2011, Parker had been given a caution for a previous fraud offence.

Sentencing, Judge Recorder West said both defendants knew they were not entitled to benefits and had behaved dishonestly, depriving the council of funds for those honestly entitled to them.

He said: "It also persuades the public to look on benefit claimants with distrust. This is a serious amount of money". He concluded by saying the pair’s actions were "lamentable".

Epsom Council is seeking to recover the money.

A spokesman said: "The court has handed down punishments to these fraudsters showing benefit fraud will not be tolerated. These fraudsters live with these suspended sentences hanging over them, as well as having to live with the restrictions imposed by the curfews. People claiming benefit they are not entitled to should be aware fraudsters are getting caught. If anyone else has not declared their true circumstances they should do so - before they are caught."

Source

Nothing terribly bad will happen to them for now. They just have to stay in more for a few weeks.

As Linda Parker had offended before, you might think the council would have kept a special eye on her claims. Evidently not?

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