2 Dec 2015

£28k repeat offender not jailed

A mother of two who plundered more than £28,000 in benefits she wasn't entitled to has walked free from court.

Elaine Ivory, 44, claimed she was a single mum when in reality she was living with her husband who was in work and drawing a wage.

Despite hearing that Ivory had a previous caution for benefit fraud a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Jonathan Underhill, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Ivory and husband Kyle initially made a joint claim for benefits in 2006. But in November 2007 she told the Department of Work and Pensions that she was living alone and up to June 2010 claimed £8,268.84 Job Seekers Allowance.

And about 16 months later she started to claim housing benefit and council tax from Wiltshire Council.

Between April 2009 and October 2011 she got £15,952.26 housing benefit and £4,080.47 council tax benefit she wasn't entitled to.

Mr Underhill said that throughout that period she had been living with her husband with joint tenancy and bills in both of their names.

Ivory, from Chippenham, admitted two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstance to obtain benefit. The court heard that in 2008 she was cautioned after it was discovered she was working for a company called Safe and Sound while claiming benefits.

James Burke, defending, said that the couple were in an uncertain relationship at the time which is why she didn't stop the claim. He said there was also an element of financial mismanagement as she sought to care for her children, now aged nine and 10, and she suffered dyslexia.

In the past he said she had worked as a member of door security and is now trying to get a forklift truck licence.

Passing sentence Judge Peter Blair QC said:
It won't have escaped you that television advert about shopping people for stealing essentially from the state when you are not entitled to benefits. It has been highly publicised. Whether you have got dyslexia or not you were aware and you have pleaded guilty to fraudulent activity which the guidelines clearly indicate should lead to prison sentences.
He imposed a 28-week jail term, suspended for a year, and told her to do 120 hours of unpaid work.


With a caution for benefit fraud on her file, you would think her circumstances might have been monitored closely.

But no.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No warnings come up when she claims again. That would be common sense but this is benefits - pay the claim as quickly as possible - shes a 'vulnerable single parent'.