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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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Ulverston dinnerlady fined for benefit fraud

A DINNERLADY fraudulently claimed more than £4,000 in housing benefit despite the fact her husband had gone back to work.

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FRAUDULENT CLAIM Dinnerlady Jayne Smith from Ulverston

Jayne Smith continued to get the cash over a 12-month period and failed to inform South Lakeland District Council of a change in her circumstances.

Furness Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday how the 49-year-old, of Birchwood Drive, Ulverston, had admitted committing the offence at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Michael Graham, prosecuting on behalf of SLDC, told the court Smith had failed to inform anyone that her husband was in employment.

Mr Andrew Gallagher, defending, said: “Her husband had back problems for a number of years and had an operation and was off work. He was claiming employment support allowance but then that changed to job seeker’s allowance. After a period of time he returned to work and he informed the relevant people of his change in circumstances.

“The family as a whole failed to inform the council about the housing benefit.

“Mrs Smith is a dinnerlady and a carer for her son who has Asperger’s. Arrangements are now in place to repay the money on a weekly basis.

Smith pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances that affected her entitlement to benefits between August 22, 2011 and October 7, 20012.

During that period she fraudulently claimed £4,175.48.

Sentencing her, District Judge Mr Gerald Chalk said: “It is a lot of money over a long period of time.” He fined her £125 and ordered her to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

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