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10 Apr 2018

Benefits cheat must pay back £25,000

A mum who swindled £25,000 in benefits must pay back the cash or face a year in prison.

Dishonest Janet Trewin, aged 55, carried on pocketing money for three and a half years even though she was sharing a home with a working partner.

She walked free with unpaid work but was brought back to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act so prosecutors could seize her ill-gotten gains.

Michael Brown, for the Department for Work and Pensions, said that she had falsely claimed £24,999. But the amount she must pay back has been increased to £26,434 to take into account inflation.

Mr Brown added that it was agreed that Trewin’s assets – her interest in a property – amounted to £97,876.

Judge James Townsend ordered that she pay back £26,434 within three months and set a default period in jail of 12 months.

Ali Rafati, for Trewin, said his client had already started paying back the money to the DWP – which will be deducted from the final total. He told an earlier hearing that she might have to sell the property to raise the cash.

Trewin pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false claim for Employment Support Allowance between August 2012 and January 2016.

She failed to tell the authorities she was living with her working partner, Dennis Blyth.

Trewin had been due to face trial but changed her plea in the face of the jury last November.

The court heard she in the end “let slip” she was living with a man and her children during an interview with investigators.

Mr Rafati told an earlier hearing that Mr Blyth, who had been in her life for a decade, had now left her.

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