Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Video: Janet Curtis of Martlesham Heath and Clacton to repay more than £140,000 after pleading guilty to benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:23 05 June 2014

Janet Curtis pleaded guilty to a string of benefit frauds

Janet Curtis pleaded guilty to a string of benefit frauds

Archant

A woman has pleaded guilty to a string of benefit frauds, lasting well over a decade, which netted her more than £140,000.

Janet Curtis, 64, from Clacton, who had previously pleaded guilty to nine offences, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court and was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence, suspended for two years and a six-month curfew to run between 7pm and 6am.

She will also have to repay all the money she obtained through her dishonesty.

Curtis, formerly of Martlesham Heath, had fraudulently claimed more than £140,000 in benefits from Suffolk Coastal District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, saying that rheumatoid arthritis meant that she could not walk more than two-three metres without extreme discomfort, leaving her virtually wheelchair bound and unable to walk without aids.

She also claimed she was unable to function independently and needed 24-hour care, claiming additional benefit as she said she had a live-in carer and therefore needed an additional bedroom.

However, in reality, Curtis enjoyed a series of foreign holidays, cruising on the QEII – and even water-skiing in Florida.

The receipts she submitted for care services proved to be fakes after it was established that the person Curtis claimed was her carer had in fact never cared for her, and had not even seen her for several years.

She also continued to falsely claim Housing and Council Tax benefits for her home in Martlesham Heath for more than a decade after she had moved out to live with her partner in Clacton.

A joint investigation was launched between Suffolk Coastal’s Corporate Counter-Fraud Unit and Department for Work and Pensions investigators, which resulted in her homes being raided by Essex Police – and evidence seized, including film and photographs of her enjoying an active life and holidaying abroad.

Speaking after the case, Doreen Savage, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said: “This was one of the most prolonged and serious cases of fraud which our investigators have ever had to deal with. Curtis’s web of deceit stretched back to the 1990s and only stopped when she was caught.”

“She enjoyed lavish holidays abroad, while fraudulently claiming over £140,000 which should have been used to support people with genuine needs.”

“Suffolk Coastal has a zero tolerance policy towards benefit fraud. If you are honest when submitting claims, you have nothing to fear. But, if you are dishonest, you will be found out and prosecuted.”

Suffolk Coastal runs a 24-hour confidential Fraud Hotline for people to call to report suspected benefit fraudsters – call 01394 444444 - or email fraud.investigation@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

A 50-year-old man from Cambridgeshire who was arrested after a fatal crash on the A140 on Tuesday will appear in court tomorrow to face dangerous driving charges.

A jealous Suffolk man who fired a BB gun at a car after finding text messages from the vehicle’s owner on his partner’s phone has been jailed for ten months.

A former geography teacher from Essex says that schoolchildren should be taught more about what to do if a natural disaster occurs after getting caught up in the earthquake which hit Kos last week.

Proposals for an accommodation complex housing 2,400 power station construction workers in Suffolk have been criticised in an independent report – with energy bosses urged to rethink the plans.

An Ipswich computer repairer who downloaded child porn has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

Just weeks after the Ipswich Park and Ride service was relaunched with a new service run by First Eastern Counties, part of its site at Copdock Mill has been put up for sale.

A Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has fulfilled his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day.

A woman in her 70s suffered injuries after an “unkempt” man is reported to have shouted and pushed her to the ground in a Suffolk high street.

Children and parents came face-to-face with all manner of creepy crawlies at the Wildlife Family Fun Day at Holywells Park in Ipswich today.

An accident involving a motorbike and car on the A14 near the Orwell Bridge was resolved with little disruption and no major injuries.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24