24 Jul 2017

Benefit cheat mum claimed £10k after new partner moved in

Benefit cheat mum-of-two Kerry Richards claimed more than £10,000 she was not entitled to after setting up home with her new partner.

The 29-year-old 'knew it was wrong' to continue receiving the Government handouts but was worried about how she was going to manage without the cash.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard she legitimately received income support and housing benefit when her ex-partner moved out of their home in June 2014 on the grounds she was a lone parent and was unemployed. But Richards failed to inform the authorities when her new boyfriend moved in with her in November of that year.

In total, she was overpaid £10,213.92 income support and housing benefit between November 2014 and July 2016. Now Richards has been handed a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 10 days.

Prosecutor Steve Knowles said: "The defendant was in receipt of income support and housing benefit on the grounds she was unemployed and lived alone with her two children at an address in Norton. She failed to declare her new partner had moved in with her in November 2014 which resulted in an overpayment of income support and housing benefit of £10,213.92."

Richards, from Chell Heath, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting her entitlements to benefits.

The court heard she knew her actions were wrong but new partner did not contribute financially to the household and she felt she could not manage.

A probation officer, who interviewed Richards, told the court: "She knew she was doing wrong. The longer it went on the harder it became for her to rectify the problem. She is now relieved it is out in the open. She expresses remorse for her behaviour. It is totally out of character for her."

Richards, who has no previous convictions, has made arrangements to repay the money - £80 a month for the income support and £30 a month for the housing benefit. Magistrates also fined her £80 and ordered her to pay £185 costs and a £60 surcharge.


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