Leeds couple in court after £24,00 benefit fraud

A FORMER soldier from Leeds helped his partner carry out part of a benefit fraud as she falsely claimed just over £24,000 in housing benefits and tax credits.
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Leeds Crown Court heard Sara Elliot, 34, failed to notify authorities of her change in circumstance when she and her three children moved from a three bedroom council house in Harehills to her partner David Pollard’s two-bedroom flat in Beeston in 2013.

Pollard, 35, had claimed to be Elliot’s landlord when the pair were living as a couple and a false tenancy agreement was submitted to claim housing benefit between September 2014 and March 2016.

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A total of £19,494 was overpaid in tax credits and £4,626 housing benefit was overpaid. The couple have a child together but have since split up.

Elliot, of St Lukes Road, Holbeck, admitted three chages of benefit fraud and Pollard, of Cambrian Terrace, Holbeck, admitted one charge of assisting Elliot to commit benefit fraud.

The court heard Pollard had served in the army for nine years and did tours in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. He now works as a train conductor for Northern Rail.

Anna Moran, mitigating for Pollard, said: “He went to Asda and collected a pre-packed tenancy agreement and asked her to submit it for a housing benefit claim.

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“He is extremely sorry for his involvement. The money was not used for any sort of frivolous lifestyle. The money was used to support the family.”

Nicoleta Alistari, mitigating for Elliot, said she is “ashamed and remorseful.”

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar sentenced both defendants to four month jail sentences, suspended for 18 months.

Pollard was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.