27 Nov 2017

Mother is repaying benefit fraud debt

A dream wedding in a beautiful Turkish resort took a horrific turn when a bridegroom assaulted his fiancée leaving her with head injuries.

Despite the attack, which landed her in hospital, Maria Evans went ahead with the marriage ceremony in Marmaris, Turkey, though its legal standing is still uncertain.

Details of the couple’s rocky relationship emerged on Friday when the 34-year-old mum-of-three narrowly escaped a jail sentence for a £28,000 benefit fraud.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Evans and her “husband” Alan Brent have “an on-off” relationship but she had failed to tell the DWP that he had been living with her.

Her lawyer, John Banasko told the judge, “Here they were having a so-called wedding in Turkey and he knocks seven bells out of her and she ends up in hospital with serious head injuries.”

He said that it was not 100 per cent certain if the wedding ceremony in June 2014 had been officially concluded as the couple had to go on to sign documents at a civil service office but she had not been fit enough to do so.

“It is still very much an on-off relationship. He stays with her from time to time and he comes and goes as he pleases. She was very much under the influence of this man and realises she should have been more forthcoming with the Department (DWP). It was not fraudulent from the start but was thereafter.”

Mr Banasko said that Evans, who works part time in a care home, is the prime carer for her three children, aged between six and 16. He pointed out that she has been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and is actually entitled to state benefits for that debilitating condition.

She is paying back £200 a month to the benefits agency and the council for the money she had wrongly taken.

Evans, from Warrington, pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to notify a change in circumstances in relation to universal credit and housing and council tax benefits.

Sentencing her to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months the judge, Recorder Jeremy Lasker, said that the fraud, involving £28,300 spanned three years from January 2013 and June last year.

“Certainly from 2013 onwards you were in a full time relationship with him….and you should have disclosed the position and you failed to do so,” he said.

“The government does not have money to throw away to give to people making dishonest claims. Every penny you have taken that you were not entitled to is a penny that could have been spent on someone who was entitled to it.”

He said that Evans, who had known Mr Brent since 2008, might have been entitled to some benefits if she had revealed her true situation.

The judge ordered her to carry out 20 days rehabilitation activities.

Source with pictures

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