11 Jan 2018

Repeat offender in £176,000 benefits fraud

Here is a very bad case of benefit fraud. The offence was described as unsophisticated, yet she got away with it for eight years and netted £176,000. 

And she was already subject to a suspended sentence for illegally claiming more than £22,000 in tax credits when she carried out the offending  - which you would think might have flagged her up for extra scrutiny. But no. 

She seems to have been able to tell the authorities that her son had a severe, chronic illness without anyone to troubling themselves to check, despite her record. The most basic check would have revealed he was fine.

Of course, we won't get our money back. It's gone.

A mother of six illegally claimed more than £170,000 in benefits by making false claims about the health of her children.

Rebecca Walker told authorities that her youngest child was suffered from cystic fibrosis, had fits, severe behavioural problems, was unable to walk unaided and suffered from chronic asthma. When assessed by specialists the youngster was described as not being different from any other children and was a "pleasant, hard working boy."

Walker also claimed she was a single parent throughout the eight-year deception despite living with a partner.

Walker, 37, from Kippax, was jailed for 21 months after pleading guilty to 11 offences of fraud.

A court heard Walker was subject to a suspended sentence for illegally claiming more than £22,000 in tax credits when she carried out the offending.

Leeds Crown Court heard Walker claimed more than £145,000 in tax credits between 2008 and 2016. She also made illegal claims for carers allowance, disability living allowance, council tax benefit, housing benefit, income support and unemployment support.

A judge who jailed Walker said she had used the money to pay for luxuries rather than basic living.

Ben Thomas, prosecuting, said each child was awarded disability living allowance and claims were "grossly exaggerated."

The prosecutor said Walker made claims in 2011 that her three-year-old son had cystic fibrosis, suffered from fits and had black-outs. She later told authorities that the youngster was unable to use the toilet alone and would scream and bite her when she tried to look after him. Walker also claimed the boy had severe behavioural problems and could not interact with other children.

When the boy started school he was described by specialists as "an active little boy."

Walker was asked to attend an interview when the offending came to light but told the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that she had to take her son to hospital as he needed to go into intensive care. She attended later interviews but refused to comment.

The court heard Walker had repaid £1,313 of the illegally claimed sum but had no more available assets. There is little prospect of the full amount being returned to the taxpayer.

Kenton Sargeant, mitigating, said the offending was not sophisticated.

He said: "Most of it was done by ringing up and giving the information. There was nothing to suggest she provided forged documents."

Mr Sargeant said Walker had a troubled childhood and wanted to give her children what she never had. He said: "I accept that the way she has done that is wholly unlawful and she accepts it is something for which she will have to go to custody today." He added that Walker suffered from a spinal condition and would struggle in custody.

Source with picture


Anonymous said...

HMRC - pay first, check later.

Working in Housing Benefit, not that long ago, we didn't accept Child Tax Credits as proof that a child existed, we always asked for Child Benefit.

I also see people getting DLA AND Carers Allowance - so cant look after themselves but can look after someone else.

Just the odd check would save millions.

betty slocombe said...

Totally agree. How can people be paid PIP yet be a full time carer for someone else? Same with Income Support, once that stops for a teenager, the parent claims ESA and that teenager then becomes the full time carer for the parents. No one gets a job!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I once read a stat that 50% of single parents on Income Support claimed Incapacity Benefit once their children left school. I've seen too many sick notes for depression and stress.

So they just go from one benefit to the next. Brief periods on JSA, claim ESA but fail the assessment then back on JSA, have to wait 6 months before new ESA claim.

They are just waiting until they can 'retire' then Pension Credits.