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15 Sep 2016

£32k benefit fraudster jailed

A former care worker who raked in more than £30,000 in benefits she had no right to claim has been jailed for four months after offering to pay back just £150 a month.

Maureen Franklin, 63, received housing benefit, council tax benefit and employment support allowance after losing her job with Housing & Care 21 due to health issues.

She applied for payments totalling £32,985.10 over four years on the basis she was a single woman unfit to work with no means of support.

But Franklin failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions she had been paid more than £16,000 along with a lump sum of £21,595.09 from Westminster Council in pension payments.

Franklin moved to the UK from St Lucia almost 40 years ago and had worked as a carer for 17 of those years, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

She also failed to disclose that she was living in a house owned by her son.

Franklin has since agreed to repay £150 per month – which will take her almost 18 years to settle.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefits last month.

Ibrahim Hussain, defending, said Franklin gave up working and applied for benefits due to her health issues and advice she received afterwards. She has constant severe back pain, which leaves her only able to walk with a stick, and arthritis. Franklin has shown ‘deep regret and remorse’ and was ‘putting her hands up to the matter’, added Mr Hussain.

But jailing Franklin for four months the judge, Mr Recorder Jonathan Mann, QC, said: ‘There has been no material attempt to repay the £33,000. I am told that you are now paying back £150 per month but the reality is that that will take a number of years to repay. I am a little surprised that there has been very little attempt to repay that sum.’

Frederick, from Dagenham, east London, was jailed for four months. One of her sons could be heard bawling in the public gallery as his mother was led to the cells.

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