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29 Dec 2016

Benefit thief to pay back £1

A woman who pocketed over £50,000 by claiming false benefits and targeting vulnerable people has been ordered to pay back a token amount of £1. (h/t Dave)

Maria Pridmore, 36, was jailed for three years in August after she admitted a string of frauds. They included obtaining more than £16,000 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support.

Pridmore, who was described in court as a "Walter Mitty" fraudster, also stole over £30,000 from four women.

She appeared by video-link at Lincoln Crown Court from Drake Hall prison in Staffordshire, where she is serving her sentence.

The court heard Pridmore, a former drug addict, benefited by £56,679 from her crimes but had no available assets which could be confiscated to pay back her victims. Judge Simon Hirst ruled that in the circumstances a nominal sum of £1 should be paid.

Pridmore made news in 2012 when she gave birth to a daughter after previously suffering 14 miscarriages, a stillbirth and the death of an infant son.

At her sentence hearing, the court heard the former nurse had been claiming to be a lone-parent with dependent children in order to get benefits, but at various times failed to declare she had moved or was living with her then partner as man and wife.

Pridmore also pocketed more than £30,000 from friends and two elderly women, and used the bank details of one of her victims to pay for a £60 taxi fare to attend a court hearing. She stole almost £8,000 from one victim, an 84-year-old vulnerable woman.

Pridmore, from Holbeach, Lincolnshire, previously admitted seven charges of benefit fraud between August 2010 and March 2013, 19 charges of fraud and theft between January 2013 and May 2016 and stealing her father's flat-packed kitchen in April 2015.

Source

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