Pontefract benefits cheat must pay back £22,000

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A full-time lorry driver who falsely claimed disability benefits has been ordered to pay back more than £22,000 or face prison.

Joanne Flatley, of Newbury Drive, in South Elmsall, Pontefract, was given six months in which to pay back the money she continued to collect when she started working full time.

The 43-year-old, who was in receipt of Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance, must sell her house and pay up within the allotted time or face a 12 month jail sentence.

At a confiscation hearing on Thursday, Nick Worsley, prosecuting, said: “An agreement has been reached for the sum of £22,139.78.”

Leeds Crown Court also heard that the case would be brought back to court to seek an extension if Flatley failed to sell her property because of the economic climate.

The fraud came to light after an anonymous tip-off to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Flatley, who worked as a class one HGV driver for three different companies, admitted the crimes when interviewed by officers.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “As this case shows, anyone guilty of fraud will have to pay back all the money taken.

“Anyone who suspects someone is fraudulently claiming benefits can call our national benefit fraud hotline on 0800 854440, open from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.”

In April, Flatley was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 12 months, with a six-month supervision order and 180 hours of unpaid work.

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