5 May 2015

Colchester woman jailed & told to pay compensation

A woman who bought two homes while claiming tens of thousands of pounds in benefits has been jailed.

Deborah Macklin, from Brightlingsea, wrongly claimed £71,348 from Colchester Council over ten years.

She had failed to tell the council she got married in 2002, was living with her husband and had bought two properties in the town.

She admitted six counts of dishonesty and failing to declare her circumstances.

She was sentenced to 15 months behind bars at Chelmsford Crown Court.

She was also told she must pay back the £71,000 in full when she is released, after the court issued a compensation order.

Paul Smith, Colchester Council’s portfolio holder for business and resources, said it was a good result:

“When someone has been found to have been overpaid benefit as a result of fraud we do try to recover the money from them. In a surprising number of cases, such as these, you find people do have other assets. It seems to be more a case of greed rather than these people being desperately poor and needing the money.

“This shows we are becoming more effective at identifying where fraud is taking place and we let other Essex councils know in case the same person has done the same elsewhere. “Thanks to this investigation, it is money we will no longer be paying out to someone who doesn’t need it and instead can be spent on those who do.”

The investigation found Macklin was overpaid £38,274.15 of housing benefit and £6,932.96 of council tax benefit from September 2002 to May 2012, and £26,141.27 of income support from September 2002 to October 2004 and January 2005 to September 2008.


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