28 Apr 2016

Recidivist benefit thief rightly jailed

A cunning mum-of-two stole the identity of a friend and used it to carry out a 10-year benefit fraud. (h/t Dave)

On the surface, the 53-year-old claimed to live a chaotic lifestyle...but secretly the woman who boasted two A levels was carrying out a sophisticated scam.

And even when pink-haired Anne Brearley, 53, was caught out, she refused to accept she was a crook.

However, a judge told Brearley, from Westgate-on-sea that she was a “cunning and imaginative” fraudster.

And Recorder George Pulman QC jailed her for 20 months after revealing that when police raided her home they discovered store cards in three different names.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how she used the name and identity documents of a friend who moved to Ireland to defraud Thanet District Council, the Department of Works and Pensions and HMRC.

She pocketed a total of more than £61,000 in Jobseekers Allowance, housing benefits and child tax allowances.

Prosecutor Andrew Espley said the frauds began in March 2003....while she was under a 12-month conditional discharge sentence for an identical offence:

“This is a very serious case. It was almost immediately she went on to commit these further offences which were sophisticated. She stole as much as she could get her hands on for quite a long period of time".

The court heard how Brearley, who has previous convictions for theft and benefit fraud, also claimed benefits for two children who didn’t live at her home.

Kieran Brand, defending, said she was a single mother, moving from area to area and struggling to cope.

“This money wasn’t spent on fast cars. She just wanted to provide for her teenage son. She also suffers from depression and anxiety.” He asked the judge to suspend any jail sentence after saying she was now motivated to keep her life in order.

The judge said he rejected her claim to have lived a chaotic lifestyle telling her she had been “highly organised and calculating”:
You have quite deliberately deceived the benefits agency, obtained bank accounts, given false details. When you want money from the state you fabricate documents with such care.

You have demonstrated extensive skills and cunning in fabricating these claims.


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