Leeds benefits cheat claimed £40,000

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A woman fraudulently claimed more than £40,000 in benefits after she lied to authorities that she was a single parent.

A court heard Lynn White began committing fraud after getting into debt when she had to pay a £9,000 bill to fly her father’s body back to the UK when he died on holiday.

White, 53, illegally claimed tax credits, housing benefit, council tax benefit, job seekers allowance and unemployment support over a four year period, between 2010 and 2014, before the offending came to light.

Leeds Crown Court heard White was caught when a ‘spot check’ was carried out into the benefits she had been receiving.

Jeremy Barton, prosecuting, said White had initially begun making legitimate benefit claims in 2007 when she separated from her husband. But she continued to claim benefits when she resumed the relationship with her husband and he moved back in to the family home. White, of Saxton Gardens, Leeds, pleaded guilty to ten offences of fraud. Kate Batty, mitigating, said White got into financial difficulties after she had to take out a loan to pay for her father’s body to be returned to the UK as the cost had not been covered by travel insurance. Mrs Batty said the incident had placed a strain on her marriage and she spilt up with her husband.

The barrister said White continued to claim benefits when her husband returned to the family home and she kept the financial difficulties a secret. She added: “She is not a person who wants a free ride but was landed in a situation that led her to make very poor choices.”

The court heard White was repaying the amount she had illegally claimed. White was given a 36 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.

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