8 Jan 2018

Benefit-cheat big and get away with it

A benefits cheat who stole more than £100,000 over ten years will not have to pay any of it back, a court has ordered. (h/t Dave)

Linda Brown, from Blackbird Leys, Oxford, was spared jail for the 12-year scam at Oxford Crown Court in August.

The court heard that the 60-year old had fraudulently claimed £109,186.34 in income support, employment and support allowance, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

She had pocketed the cash between September 1 2004 and April 4 2016 telling Oxford City Council and the department for work and pensions that she was the sole occupier of her home.

Brown was rumbled, however, when it emerged her parter who was earning more than £20,000 had been living with her for more than a decade.

At the same court on Thursday prosecutors told a proceeds of crime hearing that the Crown Prosecution Service would not be going ahead with any claim to recover the ill gotten gains.

They argued that 'her lack of assets' meant it would not be possible to recover the haul of money that she had stolen.

Accepting the submission to discontinue the application Record Nigel Daly ordered that she would still have to pay a statutory victim surcharge for the crime, which totals about £80.

Brown had already admitted the four counts of fraud for each benefit ahead of her sentencing at Oxford Crown Court on August 24 last year.

In mitigation Ronan McCann said at the time that his client had been under 'immense' financial pressure and had been acting as a carer for her parents.

He told the court that her mindset had been one of 'utter chaos' and added: "Your honour is well aware of individuals who will enjoy the finer things in life because of dishonest claims. This is not an individual known to have indulged in any of these luxuries."

She was given a six month jail term, suspended for 18 months.


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