4 Apr 2017

Benefit fraudster pretended she was still single

A benefit cheat fiddled more than £36,600 in wrongful payments by keeping quiet that she had married, a court heard.

Deborah Silvester, 40, from Owston Ferry, admitted three offences of fraud, including failing to notify a change of circumstances, between July 2012 and December 2014.

Stephen Robinson, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that the benefit claims were not initially dishonest but Silvester did not declare that she later got married. She did not tell the authorities that she was living with her husband, Jonathan Silvester.

She was overpaid overpaid benefit, including for housing and council tax, totalling £53,089 but because she would have been entitled to about £16,000 of that, the sum dishonestly received was £36,686.

Andrew Bailey, mitigating, said Silvester was ashamed of what she did and had no previous convictions.

Recorder Eric Elliott QC said Silvester had suffered emotional turmoil at the time and had a good work record in the past. She was genuinely remorseful and ashamed and realised how serious the matter was. "It's the taxpayer who ultimately has to foot the bill," he said.

Silvester was given 150 hours' unpaid work and 10 days' rehabilitation.


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