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24 Dec 2018

Benefit thief didn't declare her boyfriend was living with her

A benefit cheat claimed nearly £14,000 in wrongful payments after keeping quiet that her boyfriend was living with her.

He "came back on the scene" and she knew she should have declared the arrangement because he was working, a court heard.

Jemma Smith, 29, from Grimsby, admitted two offences of failing to notify a change in her circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefit between March 21, 2016 and October 22 last year.

Martin Howarth, prosecuting, told Grimsby Magistrates' Court that Smith claimed Income Support and housing benefit but was not entitled to do so for 83 weeks and was overpaid by £13,968.

This was because she began to live with her boyfriend, who was working full-time. They had reconciled.

Roy Foreman, mitigating, said the claim was not fraudulent at first but the boyfriend "came back on the scene". He was on a low income and they needed extra money. She made "stupid mistakes".

It may well have been that they were entitled to some help, such as working tax credits or child credit.

The family was now much better off because Smith was working in retail. She had been repaying £100 a month for about a year.

Mother-of-two Smith was ordered to do 60 hours' unpaid work and must pay £100 costs and a Government-imposed £85 victims' surcharge.

Source

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