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4 Jan 2017

Recidivist benefit thief jailed

A serial benefits cheat who enjoyed holidays in Spain and Egypt has been jailed for a year after she was caught defrauding the public purse out of nearly £35,000.

It was the third time Hull mother-of-two Amanda White, 50, had fraudulently claimed benefits.

White, who failed to declare she was living with her partner, was overpaid £34,773.68 in tax credits between May 22, 2008, and January 1, last year.

During that time, White – who earned £850 a month for a 30-hour week as a cleaner – took holidays in Majorca in 2014, and Egypt the following year, Hull Crown Court heard.

She had a previous conviction for making a false statement to claim benefits in 1996, and was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work in 2005 for making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits.

She admitted benefit fraud.

Jailing her for a year, Judge Simon Jack told her: "I'm told in the pre-sentence report that you struggle to identify the victims of your offending. Well let me make it perfectly clear; the victims of anybody who fraudulently obtains benefits are every single hard-working tax payer in this country. The people who work hard and pay their taxes, and they expect their taxes to go on running essential services, like the NHS. People like you who receive benefits to which you are not entitled reduces the amount of money which is available to run essential services – the law-abiding members of society are the victims of your offending."

Claire Holmes, prosecuting, said the Department for Work and Pensions became aware of White's circumstances because she had been listed as her partner's emergency contact with his employers since 2004, and was also the person identified to receive any death benefits "should he die in service". The couple had also held a joint HSBC bank account since 1997, which described them as living together. They described themselves as partners and gave the same address when making a voluntary arrangement with a finance company in 2011, Miss Holmes said.

White said she had a "sporadic" relationship with her partner, who worked away as a seaman.

David Godfrey, for White, said of her partner: "He didn't always return to the family home. There was some suspicion he had another family somewhere. Her financial circumstances are in a mess, and that's always been the root cause of her difficulties. She finds it difficult to manage her finances; there are numerous county court judgements against her. She is a woman who has made a grave error of judgement, again."

White sobbed as she was led away to the cells.

Source

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