Leeds charity worker fiddled £107,000 in benefits

A mother-of-five illegally claimed over £107,000 in benefits while working as a manager for a charity helping people with learning difficulties.

Annette Morris, 46, made false claims for income support, housing and council tax benefit from 1997 until she was finally caught in 2009.

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Leeds Crown Court heard she was a co-ordinator for the charity People in Action. The single mum was initially entitled to claim benefits in 1991 but failed to declare when she started working for the charity six

years later.

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David Dixon, prosecuting, said Morris repeatedly lied over the years about not working when she filled in Department for Work and Pensions forms.

She claimed to have the immune disorder lupus and arthritis and was too ill to work. Despite the claims Morris continued to work for the charity, earning up to 1,375 a month.

Her offending was discovered in June 2009. In interview she said she had committed the offences to get a better life for her family.

Morris, of Sholebrook Street, Chapeltown, also claimed not to understand the benefits system but accepted she had done wrong. She pleaded guilty to eight counts of benefit fraud.

She was jailed for two years in 1990 for customs evasion.

Philip Morris, mitigating, said she was repaying 200 per month but would be aged 92 when the amount was recovered.

He said: "She is somebody whose working and professional life involved

giving to others. She is clearly highly regarded in the nature of the work that she does and her children speak highly of her."

Morris was given 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and an 18 month supervision order.

Recorder Jonathan Morris said: "You must understand that you are

fortunate today. Before your case was called on I was minded to send you to prison and there are many people who would say that is exactly what I should do. Because of the matters I have read about you I have decided to give you a chance."

Learner driver Holly Ridge, who booked an intensive course with Drive Dynamics.

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