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Showing posts with label assets benefit fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label assets benefit fraud. Show all posts

20 Sep 2019

Benefit cheat will have to sell house

A businessman who pocketed thousands of pounds in state handouts while working is currently paying back his ill-gotten gains at a rate which will take him more than 100 years to clear.

Charles Sludden, 63, continued claiming jobseekers allowance and employment support allowance despite doing sub-contracting work for 10 companies, a court heard.

Sludden, from Low Fell, Gateshead, who has a house which is worth more than £500,000, pocketed £33,292 he was not entitled to in a dishonest claim spanning more than four years.

He was rumbled after an anonymous tip-off and pleaded guilty to three benefit fraud charges.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he is currently paying back the money at just £25 a month, although he faces a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at which he is likely to be ordered to pay back the full amount from his assets.

Jessica Slaughter, prosecuting, said: "The Crown say the defendant failed to disclose to the DWP earnings that he was receiving.

"When claiming jobseekers allowance, the defendant did so on the basis neither he nor his partner had any form of work income, capital or savings.

"When claiming employment support allowance he did so on the grounds of ill health, saying he was incapable of work and that he had no income, capital or savings. Anonymous information was received to suggest he had been working for his own company on a self-employed basis from his home address and suggesting he had undeclared assets."

The court heard an investigation showed he had been working for 10 different companies.

Miss Slaughter told the court: "When interviewed, he reluctantly admitted he had not told the DWP he had been earning money through self-employed sub contracting work."

She added: "The house he lives in is said to be worth £575,000 and there is a timetable to be set in relation to proceeds of crime."

Sludden has so far paid back £100 of the money, the court heard.

He admitted three benefit fraud charges between March 2013 and May 2017 and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work, a four month night-time curfew and a community order.

Ms Recorder Karaiskos told him: "The offences came to light because of an anonymous tip-off then an investigation ensued which revealed you had been working but failed to disclose that information to the relevant department.

"You are a man of previous good character and you were at one point a successful businessman and fell into financial difficulties.

"You were entitled to claim benefits at the beginning but continued to claim them unlawfully and dishonestly. I'm told you are remorseful and ashamed and so you should be. What example are you setting to your daughters who are now at university?

"The money was not spent on any lavish lifestyle but to pay the bills. You are now currently employed in two different jobs and repaying at £25 a month, it's going to take years to repay that."

Penny Hall, defending, said: "Before these offences, he was a businessman and, it seems, a rather successful businessman and a law-abiding man.

"What led to the offending was difficulties with work. He had believed he had secured a contract which was a significant contract, for which he had spent money to facilitate that contract and obtained credit in order to prepare for that contract.

"It transpired, in fact, the person he had spoken with didn't have the authority to agree that contract so when he invoiced the company he was informed the contract was not agreed and didn't actually exist.

"As a result of that, he lost future work and lost money. He had obtained credit as a result and fell into financial difficulties. That, it seems, led to a downward spiral in his business."

Miss Hall said Sludden had started claiming benefits legitimately at first due to his lack of income.

She added that the contracts he went on to secure while claiming benefits were "minimal" and he was unsure when or if he would get paid from them. The nature of his business was not revealed in court.

Miss Hall told the court: "He accepts he didn't notify the department of that.

"Despite the reference in the pre-sentence report of his main concern being for him, he is someone who is remorseful for his actions and clearly appreciates the effect this type of offending has on the wider community and benefits system. He is ashamed and embarrassed he is before this court.

"He is now employed and is trying to pay the money back to the department, at £25 a month from his income, and he has put his house up for sale."

Source

12 Sep 2019

Benefit fraud mum had £70k in five bank accounts

A mother of three from Bradford who had £70,000 tucked away in five bank accounts has been sentenced to a community order for benefit fraud.

Della Lister, 31, from Eccleshill, pleaded guilty to dishonestly claiming £22,897 in Income Support, Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit by failing to disclose that she had capital over the prescribed limits.

Bradford Crown Court heard this week that Lister, who was of previous good character, had repaid all the money.

David Gordon, prosecuting, said she stated that she had just £200 in the bank when she had £70,442.

In mitigation, the court heard that she had inherited the bulk of the money following the tragic death of her mother when she was only a child.

Lister had worked in a care home but left to care for her grandmother, who had since passed away.

She did not live a lavish lifestyle, the court heard.

She was also very remorseful, the court was told.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, sentenced Lister to a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work, and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

She must pay £525 court costs.

He said it was a “blatant fraud.”

Lister knew she had money tucked away in the bank, the court was told.

But she was an impeccable mother who would not trouble the courts again, the judge added.

Source

29 Aug 2019

Benefit fraudster already had suspended sentence

A serial benefits cheat who fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds could be sent to jail - but a judge is worried for the future of her children.

Parveen Akhtar was due to be sentenced on August 27 after admitting two charges of making a false statement in order to obtain benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions.

However, speaking at Stafford Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Salmon raised issues about the care of her five children under the age of 16.

Another daughter, 21, has offered to care for them, but the judge was concerned as she has a full-time job and her own child.

Addressing Akhtar, he said:
Make no bones about it, as I have told you before and repeated, the seriousness of these offences crosses the custody threshold and it is a breach of a suspended sentence. 
You committed these further offences during a period of that suspended sentence. 
In order to make a decision (on the sentence), I need to know what will happen to the children if an immediate custodial sentence is imposed, including the caring ability of your 21-year-old daughter.
The judge asked social services to gather information on how the children would be cared for if Akhtar was jailed.

She answers to unconditional bail until her next court appearance on October 11, when she is likely to be sentenced.

Akhtar's first offence was committed on March 10, 2016, when the 43-year-old claimed £3,730.80 in Carers' Allowance, saying she was caring for her nephew full time.

But she failed to mention she had a paid job as a carer at Carden Bank care home, in Belvedere Road, Burton.

The second was on November 11, 2017, when Akhtar applied for Employment and Support Allowance without declaring she had an interest in four properties.

No money was paid out for the second offence as she was still under investigation for the first.

When making the fraudulent claims, Akhtar was subject to a suspended sentence for claiming incapacity benefits and failing to tell the Department of Work and Pensions when she returned to work. She was sentenced for that offence on February 24, 2016.

Judge Salmon asked for a Proceeds of Crime application to be completed before sentencing to recoup the money Akhtar had fraudulently claimed.

The court heard she had an interest in three properties with her husband at the time of the offences, as well as another she is now living in.

Akhtar is now the sole owner of one of the homes she previously owned with her husband.

Her 21-year-old daughter lives there and the house in mortgage arrears, but there is equity in the property.

Another has been sold and the third now belongs solely to her husband. Akhtar is not currently claiming any benefits.

Source with picture

15 Aug 2019

Grandad squirrels away money, claims benefits

A grandad has been spared prison after committing benefit fraud by failing to disclose he had money in the bank while pocketing handouts.

Kevin Raisbeck hoped to keep money from the sale of a house as a nest egg for his children and grandchildren and failed to tell the DWP or the council.

As a result he received more than £20,000 in benefits he was not entitled to, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Now the 57-year-old, who was using a walking stick when he appeared in court, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Prosecutor Andrew Walker told the court: "The indictment covers a period from November 2015, when he was getting various benefits he was not entitled to.

"He failed to disclose substantial capital assets, cash in various accounts, that would have reduced his entitlement to zero. There was an overpayment of housing benefit, income support and employment support allowance totalling £20,438."

Inquiries revealed Raisbeck had sold a property in November 2015 and was still in possession of some of the proceeds of the sale in various accounts.

Mr Walker said: "All of those should have been disclosed to the DWP or local authority but none were."

Raisbeck, from Dudley, North Tyneside, pleaded guilty to four benefit fraud charges on the basis that when he initially claimed, it was legitimate and he didn't have any assets.

He said the proceeds from the sale were used to pay off debts and he had put some money aside for his children and grandchildren for their futures.

Raisbeck, who has five previous convictions but nothing since 2007, was sentenced to six months suspended for 18 months.

Recorder Dapinder Singh QC said Raisbeck had "buried his head in the sand" and added: "This was not a criminally, carefully planned, sophisticated operation from the outset.

"I have to mark the seriousness of this offending so other people don't think this kind of conduct is acceptable."

Penny Hall, defending, said: "He is not in good health, he has had back problems for many years and has had operations and that has led to mental health issues."

Miss Hall said he is the full time carer for his two adult children, who both have medical problems and may have had to go into care if he was locked up.

She added: "He is remorseful and says around that time, life was difficult."

The court heard Raisbeck has been paying back his ill-gotten gains at £30 a month.

So that's all right then?

Source

16 Jul 2019

Woman who owned 4 homes fleeced the public purse for 4 years

A carer claimed nearly £30,000 in benefits in a four-year con despite owning four properties, a court heard. (h/t Dave)

Corinne Taylor claimed £27,694 in employment and support allowance (ESA) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for more than four years from December 2012 until June 2017.

This was despite the 64-year-old having savings from rental income from four properties, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Roger Griffiths told the court: “On December 29, 2012, the defendant made an application for employment and support allowance but failed to disclose income from rental properties amounting to £30,000 and the fact she owned four properties. The Crown became aware of the four properties and the fact she had a pension from previous employment. A total amount of £27,694 was unlawfully taken from public money when she had no entitlement to it at all.”

The court heard how Taylor had declined a formal interview with the DWP in March 2018 after receiving legal advice. Rosamund Rutter, defending, said “poor advice” prompted the defendant not to attend.

“She is incredibly remorseful and ashamed of what she has done,” Ms Rutter added. “She holds her hands up fully and realises she has to be punished.

“This is a very difficult situation to be in, someone who has worked hard for the majority of her life. She does accept what she did was wrong."

Taylor, who now works as a full-time carer for her mother, also suffers from a number of medical conditions, the court heard. She is also in the process of selling off one of her properties to pay the debts.

Taylor, of Pembroke Dock, pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly making a false statement for benefit.

She was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for eight months. Judge Nicola Jones said: “I find that a woman of your age and character that there is sufficient punishment for you to have this hanging over your head."

Character?

Source with picture

2 Jul 2019

Benefit fraud couple didn't declare inheritance

A husband and wife fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 in state benefits by failing to tell the authorities they had inherited nearly £150,000 between them.

Kevin and Geraldine Daniels did not inform the Department for Work and Pensions their circumstances had changed considerably and they continued to receive Income Support.

Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court , Kevin Daniels’ barrister Jeffrey Jones said the couple were “ashamed” of their actions.

The court heard Kevin Daniels made a legitimate claim for Income Support in March 2005, stating he was a carer for his disabled son and did not have savings of more than £16,000.

Thomas Roberts, prosecuting, said he should have told the authorities about any change in circumstances affecting their entitlement to benefits. He said the couple did not declare that Geraldine Daniels started working at Peacocks clothes shop in July 2008, which would have reduced the amount of Income Support she was paid.

Prosecutors said the pair inherited £149,000 between 2015 and 2017, taking their savings well over the £16,000 threshold.

But they did not declare their inheritance money and continued to receive Income Support, with their total overpayment just over £25,000.

When he was interviewed in February last year, Kevin Daniels said he thought the savings threshold was £30,000.

He said he had received just over that amount in inheritance and did not think he needed to declare it, as he had given some to his children and spent some on the house.

Kevin Daniels accepted his wife had been working for a number of years and they had not reported her earnings.

Mr Roberts said there would be no application under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as the couple had repaid all the money.

The court heard they had no previous convictions and were judged to present a low risk of re-offending.

Mr Jones said the inheritance money came from three different inheritances over a two-year period, not in one big lump sum. He stressed their claim was not fraudulent from the outset and they still care for their adult son.

Julia Cox, for Geraldine Daniels, said her client balanced work with caring for her son, which would have reduced her entitlement to Income Support, but not taken it away completely.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke noted the couple had repaid the amount in full, so there was no loss to the taxpayer. There was no order for compensation, but they must pay £340 towards costs.

She gave them each a 24-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered them to complete 20 hours of a rehabilitation activity, plus 180 hours of unpaid work.

Source with picture

28 May 2019

Pensioner admonished for £76k benefit fraud

A pensioner has been admonished for a £27,000 benefit fraud after Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told she is paying back all that money.

Christina Weir pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud.

Over a period of eight years, from September 2009 to July 2017, the 76-year-old failed to notify Scottish Borders Council that she had capital over the prescribed limit and that led to her being paid £24,052 in housing benefit she wasn’t entitled to.

Weir was also paid £1,623 in council tax benefit between September 2009 and March 2013 and a further £1,795 in pension credits between December 2012 and September 2016.

She admitted failing to tell the relevant authorities about changes to her personal circumstances affecting her benefit entitlement.

Defence lawyer Maureen Sinclair said the pension credit sum had already been repaid and Weir is repaying the rest of the money she owes at a rate of £500 per month.

She described first offender Weir as a “valued member of the community” but added that she accepted she she should have kept better records and was ashamed of the offence.

Ms Sinclair added that her client had enrolled on a Borders College course to help her keep better accounts.

She asked for an admonition, pointing out that Weir was paying the money back at a “rapid” rate and there would be no loss to the public purse by the time she finishes.

Source

7 May 2019

£166k lottery winner jailed for benefit fraud

A man who won big on the Postcode Lottery has been sent to prison for benefit fraud after continuing to claim benefits.

Eric Burrows scooped £166,000 on the popular lotto, then posed with other winners for publicity photos at Swansea's Brangwyn Hall.

But he failed to notify the authorities of his good fortune and continued to claim housing benefit and employment support allowance.

A judge said it was clear from a probation report into Burrows that the 62-year-old had been motivated by greed, and had shown "little or no remorse" for his actions.

Swansea Crown Court heard Burrows began claiming benefits in 2004 because he was unable to work and had only limited savings, and for many years the claim was entirely legitimate.

However in 2015 the defendant won £166,666 on the Postcode Lottery.

Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Burrows' "good fortune" meant he now had more than the £16,000 capital limit for benefit claimants, meaning his entitlement ceased. The authorities were not notified, however.

The prosecutor said by the November of 2017 Burrows' savings were down to £7,665 with the lotto money seemingly having gone on items including holidays to Disney World in Florida, a £22,000 car, a motorhome of the same value, and gifts to his parter and sister.

Mr Jones said when Burrows was interviewed under caution by investigators he accepted he had won the lottery, and said he did not declare it because he regarded the cash as "family money" and not his own.

Burrows, from Waunarlwydd , Swansea , had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud totalling some £20,157 when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

The court heard he has previous convictions for thefts, taking a car without the owner's consent, burglary, and assault with intent to commit robbery, though there is nothing on his record since 1987.

Frank Phillips, for Burrows, said he had no doubt the defendant's behaviour in failing to declare his windfall "will not have impressed the court or anyone else", and he said his client's thinking had been "disturbed".

He said Burrows had been out of trouble for 30 years prior to the commission of these offences, and was now in poor physical health.

Judge Keith Thomas described the offending as a "deliberate and determined fraud" which took funds from an already stretched public purse.

He said it was clear from a probation report into the defendant his motivation had been greed, and he had shown "little or no remorse" for his dishonest behaviour.

The judge said the only question to be decided was whether any term of imprisonment could be suspended or should be served immediately.

The judge said having carefully read the sentencing guidelines and guidance, read the probation report, and listened to submissions there was no "no basis for believing a suspended sentence would have any rehabilitative purpose".

Giving Burrows a one-third discount for this guilty pleas, judge Thomas sentenced him to 24 weeks prison for each of the five offences, all the sentences to run concurrently with each other making an overall sentence of 24 weeks.

Source with picture

29 Apr 2019

Lottery winner kept claiming benefits

A lottery winner has been sent to prison for benefit fraud after he continued to claim benefits .

Eric Burrows scooped £166,000 in the Postcode Lottery however failed to notify the authorities of his new wealth.

As he rolled in the cash he continued to claim housing benefit and employment support allowance.

A court judge said it was clear from a probation report into Burrows that the 62-year-old had been motivated by greed.

Burrows was told by the judge at Swansea Crown Court he had shown "little or no remorse" for his actions.

He began claiming benefits in 2004 because he was unable to work and had only limited savings, and for many years the claim was entirely legitimate.

However in 2015 the defendant won £166,666 on the Postcode Lottery.

Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Burrows' "good fortune" meant he now had more than the £16,000 capital limit for benefit claimants, meaning his entitlement ceased. The authorities were not notified, however.

The prosecutor said by the November of 2017 Burrows' savings were down to £7,665 with the lotto money seemingly having gone on items including holidays to Disney World in Florida, a £22,000 car, a motorhome of the same value, and gifts to his parter and sister.

Mr Jones said when Burrows was interviewed under caution by investigators he accepted he had won the lottery, and said he did not declare it because he regarded the cash as "family money" and not his own.

Burrows, from Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud totalling some £20,157.65 when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

The court heard he has previous convictions for thefts, taking a car without the owner's consent, burglary, and assault with intent to commit robbery, though there is nothing on his record since 1987.

Frank Phillips, for Burrows, said he had no doubt the defendant's behaviour in failing to declare his windfall "will not have impressed the court or anyone else", and he said his client's thinking had been "disturbed".

He said Burrows had been out of trouble for 30 years prior to the commission of these offences, and was now in poor physical health.

Judge Keith Thomas described the offending as a "deliberate and determined fraud" which took funds from an already stretched public purse.

He said it was clear from a probation report into the defendant his motivation had been greed, and he had shown "little or no remorse" for his dishonest behaviour.

The judge said the only question to be decided was whether any term of imprisonment could be suspended or should be served immediately.

The judge said having carefully read the sentencing guidelines and guidance, read the probation report, and listened to submissions there was no "no basis for believing a suspended sentence would have any rehabilitative purpose".

Giving Burrows a one-third discount for this guilty pleas, judge Thomas sentenced him to 24 weeks prison for each of the five offences, all the sentences to run concurrently with each other making an overall sentence of 24 weeks.

Source with picture

24 Apr 2019

Former DWP employee in £37k benefit fraud

A Henleaze man ripped off benefit money from the government department he used to work for. (h/t Dave)

Robert Lyne was formerly employed by the Department of Work and Pensions, Bristol Crown Court was told.

But he pocketed just under £37,000 in fraudulent payouts by failing to reveal he had nearly £100,000 stashed in the bank.

Lyne, 63, pleaded guilty to making dishonest representations to obtain benefit, between October 2012 and March last year.

The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC handed him a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

The judge told him: "You dishonestly obtained social security benefits. It should be 36 weeks prison.

"But you are aged 63, you are completely clean of previous convictions and you have an exemplary background of employment. You have repaid nearly £37,000 of Employment Support Allowance."

Lyne was fined £1,000 and told to pay court costs of £360 and a victim surcharge of £115.

Gregory Gordon, prosecuting, said between October 2012 and March 2018 Lyne claimed £36, 915.20 in Employment Support Allowance, declaring he was unable to work and had £350.11 in savings.

Mr Gregory said: "He actually had substantial savings. At the start he had £94,988.90. The threshold for the claim is £16,000."

Lyne admitted his guilt in interview and apologised.

He said during the period of the claims he was looking after his father and had suffered family bereavements and mental health issues.

Lyne also produced a letter to the DWP, in which he said had savings, which was not received.

Nicholas Fridd, defending, said: "He is a man of good character. His offending simply makes no sense. There was no financial motive. He repaid all the money. He does not appear to have been thinking straight."

Mr Fridd said his client had previously worked for government departments, including the DWP, and had led an "exemplary" lifestyle.

Source

10 Apr 2019

Burton benefits cheat had four houses

A 43-year-old woman claimed more than £3,500 in benefits she was not entitled to by failing to declare she had a job, a court has heard. (h/t Dave)

Parveen Akhtar admitted two charges of making a false statement to obtain benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions when she appeared before Cannock Magistrates' Court.

The first charge relates to March 10, 2016, when Akhtar, from Burton, claimed Carers' Allowance to the value of £3,730.80 for caring for her nephew. She did this without declaring she had employment at a rest home where she worked as a carer.

The second offence was on November 11, 2017, when she applied for Employment and Support Allowance for the Department of Work and Pensions. On the application she failed to declare she had an interest in four properties.

Chris Coughlan, prosecuting, said: "This is fraud from the public purse.

"On the form it asks if she had interests in any other properties apart from the home she lives in. She ticked the no box and it was a lie as she has a beneficial interest in four properties."

He added that Akhtar was subject to a suspended sentence for a similar offence and he requested a confiscation order for the money that was owed.

Simon Dean, defending Akhtar, told the court: "Ms Akhtar has been the victim of horrendous domestic abuse which is behind all the matters she has faced before the court that she addresses this morning."

Akhtar will be sentenced by a judge at Stafford Crown Court when more detail will be given about the domestic abuse she has suffered.

The date has not yet been set for the hearing but she answers unconditional bail until the next court date.

Source

9 Apr 2019

Lottery winner kept claiming benefits

A lottery winner scooped a £300,000 jackpot – but kept on claiming benefit payments despite no longer being entitled to them. (h/t Dave)

Lesley Thomas, 49, bagged the massive windfall but failed to tell the authorities and kept claiming housing benefit and employment and support allowance.

Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court on Monday heard the total overpayment was in excess of £17,988.

Prosecutor Monique McKevitt said: “[Ms Thomas] received a sum of £300,000 as a lottery win from Camelot UK.

“Ms Thomas was interviewed on March 15 last year. She admitted that she had claimed the fraudulent funds. The payment has been paid back in full.”

Thomas pleaded guilty to failing to inform Merthyr Tydfil council of her change of circumstances relating to the housing benefit she was receiving between April 2015 and November 2015.

She also pleaded guilty to failing to inform the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about her change of circumstances between April 2015 and February 2018, which would have affected her entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance.

A probation report said Ms Thomas has shown “deep remorse for her actions”.

The court was also told Ms Thomas, from Merthyr Tydfil , lives alone with no children or partner.

She was said to have numerous health complaints that require the ongoing support of carers on a daily basis, especially to help her carry out daily chores.

Kim Treloar, mitigating, said: “This case goes back some years now.”

Discussing the lottery win she added: “She gave some money to her niece to assist her. She gave some money to her relatives.

“She suffered with depression, anxiety, and many physical issues. She has fully accepted that she’s done wrong.”

Bench chair Mary Morris said the magistrates “took a long time” to consider the sentence they would impose.

They handed Thomas a 26-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to pay £200 in costs and was handed a 12-week tagged curfew.

Mrs Morris said: “[The offence] was over a long period of time and we did find that it was a deliberate act.”

Source with picture

5 Apr 2019

Big Brother star's sister avoids jail for £21k benefit fraud

I didn't know Big Brother had 'stars' ... seems I'm just out of touch.

THE sister of a reality TV star was spared jail after a court heard she funded her celebrity lifestyle with £21,000 in illegal benefits.

Lauryn Goodman, sister of Celebrity Big Brother star Chloe, wept in the dock as details of her benefit fraud were read out.

The 28-year-old spent thousands on trips to Las Vegas and skiing in France with her sister. The reality TV star was said to have been mortified when she found out.

Hove Trial Centre heard she was now trying to return to paid work with HSBC bank. (!)

Goodman, from Portslade, was handed a seven-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. She will also have to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay £670 costs after the court heard she had already paid back all the money she claimed in benefits.

Prosecuting, Pierce Power said the seven offences had been committed between December 2013 and August 2016. Goodman claimed disability benefit and housing benefit totalling £21,007. She admitted the charges at an earlier hearing.

Mr Power said: “Ms Goodman failed to declare income of £370 a month from an insurance policy. She also had a joint mortgage with her mother on a house in Portslade.” The court heard she did not think the insurance money was income.

And she claimed she did not have access to several bank accounts which belonged to her grandmother and father.

She also had more than £16,000 in the bank.

The housing benefit was claimed on a flat in Brighton where she was the tenant but never paid any rent.

Mr Power said she used £3,500 to buy airline tickets to Las Vegas on a trip with sister Chloe. Money was also use to hire ski equipment on another holiday with her sister at Les Arcs in France.

Sally Mertens for Goodman said her client was in an ongoing battle with depression.

She said: “There is an inability to face the music as a result of telling lies and behaving dishonestly. She is very, very sorry for her conduct. Her sister, Chloe Goodman, who sits in the public gallery, was mortified to consider her conduct has exacerbated the situation. Ms Goodman has lost her good character. She is well educated and has had many opportunities.”

His Honour Judge David Rennie told Goodman the offending went on for some time but was essentially out of character.

“This is not who you are,” he said. “You have made some catastrophically bad decisions. But that is never an excuse for what is essentially stealing public money.”

Goodman made no comment as she walked free from court.

Source with pictures

26 Mar 2019

Benefit cheat claimed nearly £30k in benefits

A benefit cheat gran has been hauled before the courts for pocketing handouts after failing to declare she owned a house.

For years, Marion Pearson got housing benefit and council tax benefit she was not entitled to, as the owner of a property which ended up being worth £230,000.

A court heard the 77-year-old received an overpayment of just less than £30,000.

Now Pearson, from Newcastle, has been given a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard Pearson had started claiming the handouts in 2006 after arriving in the North East from Essex after fleeing an abusive relationship.

Someone else filled the forms in for her and the section about assets was left blank - and the authorities did not review the position until 2017.

The claim for housing benefit was dishonest between 2006 and 2017 and for council tax benefit from 2006 until 2013.

Liam O'Brien, prosecuting, said: "The dishonesty was when she completed the review paperwork she dishonestly failed to declare she owned a property in Harlow, Essex. At the time it was worth £130,000 but at the end of the period it was worth at least £230,000. What is clear is that at the end of the period she had equity of about £100,000 available to her in that property."

The court heard the house has been occupied by her daughter throughout the period.

Pearson, who has six previous convictions for dishonesty, the last of which was in 1993, admitted dishonestly claiming benefits.

She was sentenced to four months suspended for 12 months.

Judge Robert Spragg told her: "You admitted owning the property and explained your daughter lived there and was paying the mortgage and would inherit it when you died. You felt sorry for your daughter. You have tried to get back that property and there have been some civil proceedings. Now you are having to pay rent and council tax, you are in financial difficulties and need to get the money from that property."

Jonathan Cousins, defending, said Pearson had been unable to secure the property to sell due to "technicalities she didn't comply with" and she has instructed solicitors to help.

He added: "She issued a notice to quit the property to her daughter which expires today and she waits to see what her daughter will do."

Mr Cousins said Pearson came to the North East to flee an abusive relationship and initially spent time in a refuge. While there, the initial form to claim benefits was filled out by someone else, who did not complete the section about assets.

He added: "The likelihood is she was simply not asked those questions by the housing officer who completed the form. When the form was then completed, the existence of the property was not disclosed and there were no other forms after that until 2017."

Source

18 Mar 2019

Benefit cheat did not declare savings

A Derby woman who claimed thousands of pounds worth of housing benefit despite having huge savings now has an anxious wait to find out her fate.

Marcia Oliver pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud when she appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court.

Magistrates heard how the 47-year-old claimed more than £11,500 in housing benefit from Derby City Council between June 9, 2016 and June 4, 2018.

Oliver also claimed almost £8,000 in additional DWP benefits between March 14, 2016, and April 12, 2018. She was receiving jobseeker’s allowance.

The court heard how she had been claiming all the cash while she had savings of more than £16,000, higher than the permitted limit in bank accounts, which she failed to declare.

Now Oliver must wait to find out how she will be punished as magistrates adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be drafted.

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25 Feb 2019

Money saved from benefits caused benefit fraud

A “dedicated” mother who spent years saving up her benefit payments to help out her son has been ordered to pay back some of the money.

Kayann Phillips is a carer for her 23-year-old son and, instead of spending all the money she received in benefits, decided to save as much as she could each month.

After building up more than £50,000 in savings at one point she was convicted last year of benefit fraud. Now she has three months to repay more than £28,000 after being paid £72,517.04 she was not entitled to.

Her case was listed before Judge Jeremy Jenkins for an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Cardiff Crown Court on February 22.

When he sentenced her in November last year he said: “I find that this is an unusual case.”

The 55-year-old had denied six counts of benefit fraud but was found guilty by a jury following a two-day trial at Newport Crown Court.

Nuhu Gobir, prosecuting, said the charges related to the period between August 2011 and September 2017.

The court heard Phillips was “absolutely entitled” to claim the social security benefits.

In his sentencing remarks Judge Jenkins said: “Unusually you were not spending those benefits to the full extent, but you were saving part of the money you received. You were saving, I have no doubt, for a very noble purpose – to enrich your son’s life.”

The court heard the total overpayment was £72,517.04. On Friday a confiscation order was made for £26,843.91 for housing benefit and £1,487.52 for council tax benefit.

She has three months to make the payments and would have to go to prison for six months if she failed to pay.

The court heard her son has “considerable difficulties” and she has been caring for him since he was born.

Benefit claimants must inform the Department for Work and Pensions if they have savings. The authorities then make deductions according to the amount involved. Prosecutors said at one stage Phillips had more than £50,000 in savings but failed to declare them on her claim forms.

Judge Jenkins said: “As a result you were not entitled to the full benefits you continued to receive.”

At the last hearing, her barrister Clare Wilks described the circumstances as “unusual” and said the Probation Service found Phillips to present a low risk of re-offending.

Judge Jenkins said: “I find that this is an unusual case, albeit the charge of fraud is clearly made out.”

He noted the amount involved was “considerable” and said the forms made it “abundantly clear” the defendant should have declared any savings.

The judge described Phillips as a “dedicated” mother who had previously led an “unblemished” life. He added: “You are 55 and you have never before come anywhere close to getting into trouble.”

On that occasion Phillips, from Llanharan, Pontyclun, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

Source

13 Feb 2019

£55k benefit claimant had £84k inheritance

A mother claimed more than £55,000 in benefits when she had stashed away over £84,000 from money she inherited and invested. (h/t FraudManager)

Annmarie Rudkin drew income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit she would not otherwise have been entitled to.

Prosecutor Trevor Wright said the claims were dishonest from the start.

The 39-year-old, from Gillingham, inherited £65,000 and the investment matured to the total amount of £84,105.

Mr Wright said Rudkin applied for the benefits in October 2010, but did not declare the large sum she had. Some of the benefits were in her name and some in joint names with her husband.

Rudkin claimed she had given £10,000 to each of her two children.

“It doesn’t alter the fact there was a substantial sum of money that went into her account, even if she gave £20,000 away,” Mr Wright told Maidstone Crown Court. “She confirmed she was saving for her children’s future, or that when they got older they could go to university.”

Asked about the investment, Rudkin said: “I had a lot going on. I didn’t want to think about it. I was concentrating on getting myself better.” But Mr Wright said the mother knew she had to declare the savings.

She claimed £27,270 in income support, £26,150 in housing benefit and £2,150 in council tax benefit.

Rudkin denied dishonestly claiming benefit, but was convicted by a jury by an 11-1 majority.

Adjourning sentence for reports until April 5, Judge Adele Williams said: “The value of the fraud certainly passes the custody threshold, and it was a fraud from the beginning. The fact I am ordering a pre-sentence report doesn’t mean I won’t send you to prison on the next occasion.”

Bail was continued.

Source

29 Jan 2019

Another light sentence for benefit fraud

A former teacher stashed a £184,000 inheritance while pocketing state benefits.

Grainne Furbank claimed three separate benefits, saying she had just one bank account with just £13.85 in it.

And when DWP fraud investigators began probing her case, the 63-year-old transferred funds from her secret accounts to family members.

And now a judge has ordered Furbank, from Margate, to ensure that some of the money, which was used to buy houses, is returned to taxpayers.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how between April 2013 and June last year, Furbank repeatedly claimed housing, jobseekers’ allowance and employment support benefits.

But prosecutor Michael Peters said she failed to tell the authorities she had inherited money from the sale of her mother’s home.

During the four-year period after the home was sold she collected a total of almost £31,000 in benefits handouts.

The judge, Recorder Bruce Houlder QC, told Furbank – who had claimed she was bullied out of her teaching post – that she had let “greed get the better of her”.

He told her he was “astonished” that she had made no attempt to repay the money. “You have very, very narrowly missed out on a prison sentence," he added.

And Recorder Houlder ordered Furbank to wear an electronic tag for three months and to stay at her home between 7pm and 6am each day.

“You claimed benefits to which you were not entitled and have moved around from Cornwall to Gloucester and so on,” he told her. “You failed to declare a number of bank accounts, including one with £184,000. You decided to disseminate those funds to your children. You siphoned some of the money into your son’s account knowing you were going to be interviewed by the DWP, with that money coming back into your account later.”

The judge said he was not “fully persuaded” that the money was going to go to her children and that she was not going to benefit herself from the cash.

“I am astonished that you, knowing you were coming to court, have made no attempt at recouping the money from your family that was effectively stolen from the State," he added.

Nicholas Jones, defending, said that Furbank was now suffering from heart problems and living on benefits!

He added: “She was a teacher and she feels she was bullied out of that employment.”

Furbank, who admitted three deception charges, was given a nine-month community order and told that there would now be an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to claw back the cash. She was also ordered to pay £340 court costs.

Source

22 Dec 2018

'Thoroughly dishonest' £12k benefit cheat did not declare second house

A £12,000 benefit cheat who kept a second home secret from the government has been branded greedy and dishonest - but avoided prison.

Razean Afsar, 55, was told by Teesside's most senior judge: "You are a thoroughly dishonest woman.

"Many offences of benefit fraud are carried out by people who are desperate," said Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC. "You were not desperate. You had access to at least £22,500. It was motivated by greed."

Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt said Afsar started claiming benefits in 2006 as an unemployed woman with no other income. But she bought a second home on Lansdowne Road, Longlands , Middlesbrough on a buy-to-let mortgage in February 2013.

She did not tell the Department for Work and Pensions of the £90,000 purchase, with £67,500 borrowing and £22,500 equity in the property. And she claimed on DWP forms she had no capital, making a string of false declarations in 2013 and 2015.

"Plainly she did," said prosecutor Jonathan Walker at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday. "The overpayments made were £12,198.73 from February 2013 to July 2015. Inquiries were started into this lady and this led to the discovery of the fact she already owned a property in central Middlesbrough. She conceded the allegations in interview, saying she had to move because that property was damp."

Afsar admitted one charge of fraud, one of failing to disclose information to make a gain and three of making false statements to obtain benefits. The benefits were income support, employment support allowance and jobseeker's allowance.

Magistrates heard in October that she expressed "deep remorse and regret".

Tom Mitchell, defending at the sentencing hearing, said: "She has been in this country since she was 22. She has no previous convictions. She has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. There was effectively a full confession."

He said she would face repaying the state under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

"Ultimately she will pay for her crime fully because there is equity in the property," he added. "She's not accused of criminally buying a house. She is accused of telling a lie and conniving in the same lie on several occasions."

Judge Bourne-Arton, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, told Afsar: "You were dishonest in the way you committed these offences. In my judgment you were dishonest in what you said to the probation officer. You are not illiterate and uneducated. You had the capacity to take out this mortgage and to plan this offence. There was a degree of sophistication behind these offences.

"You will of course lose all benefit of your crime. In the fullness of time the sum of £12,200 will be taken from you.

"It's conceded on your behalf that a sentence of imprisonment is inevitable."

Bearing in mind her age and lack of previous convictions, he did not jail her, but made her a prisoner in her own home at night. She was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months with a four-month 9pm to 7am curfew.

Source

3 Dec 2018

Benefit fraud mother hid savings from benefits

A “dedicated” mother who spent years saving up her benefit payments to help out her son may be forced to pay the money back.

Kayann Phillips is a carer for her 23-year-old son and, instead of spending all the money she received in benefits, decided to save as much as she could each month.

After building up more than £50,000 in savings at one point she has now been convicted of benefit fraud.

Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Jenkins said: “I find that this is an unusual case.”

The 55-year-old denied six counts of benefit fraud but was found guilty by a jury following a two-day trial at Newport Crown Court.

Nuhu Gobir, prosecuting, said the charges related to the period between August 2011 and September 2017.

The court heard Phillips was “absolutely entitled” to claim the social security benefits.

In his sentencing remarks Judge Jenkins said: “Unusually you were not spending those benefits to the full extent but you were saving part of the money you received. You were saving, I have no doubt, for a very noble purpose – to enrich your son’s life.”

The court heard her adult son has “considerable difficulties” and she has been caring for him since he was born.

Benefit claimants must inform the Department for Work and Pensions if they have savings. The authorities then make deductions according to the amount involved.

Prosecutors said at one stage Phillips had more than £50,000 in savings but failed to declare them on her claim forms.

Judge Jenkins said: “As a result you were not entitled to the full benefits you continued to receive.”

Mr Gobir said the total overpayment was more than £70,000 and there will be a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act on February 22.

Clare Wilks, defending, described the circumstances as “unusual” and said the Probation Service found her client to present a low risk of re-offending.

The court heard the defendant only has access to her current account as her other accounts have been restrained.

Judge Jenkins said: “I find that this is an unusual case, albeit the charge of fraud is clearly made out.”

He noted the amount involved as “considerable” and said the forms made it “abundantly clear” the defendant should have declared any savings.

The judge described Phillips as a “dedicated” mother who had previously led an “unblemished” life. He added: “You are 55 and you have never before come anywhere close to getting into trouble.”

Phillips, from Llanharan, Pontyclun, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

Source