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

16:14 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

7 comments

  • Are you insinuating folk in chantry are dishonest.if you are. You need to get your facts right and shut the f**k up!

    Report this comment

    al hanlon

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

  • Mr Entrepreneur A great deal is actually done pro-actively to prevent benefit fraud. I'd be interested to see what you think could legitimately be done within the bounds of reasonable cost. Perhaps a fraud investigator could follow each claimant all the time?

    Report this comment

    James Lakin

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Why hasn't the CPS appealed against this ridiculous lenient sentence? If she came from a council estate she would be inside Holloway now. This was a major theft - questions need to be asked!

    Report this comment

    Stanley Lloyd

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • This is yet another example as to why Benefits fraud is rife. The system is totally lax and there is no real punishment. She is tagged 7pm to 6am. Not much of a hardship Whether thee taxpayers will get the money back is unclear. Does she still own the Ipswich house? Even if she does she has lead the high life for 10 years odd at tax payers expense

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Who is the real thief? People like this who steal and defraud the taxpayer OR fraud investigators at the DWP who sit back allowing such to occur so long to keep themselves in a job? Trick question... the answer is both. ***** People should be pre-emptively prevented from being able to defraud the taxpayer to save the taxpayers purse, rather than allowing it to happen, waiting for a tip off and taking 1-2 years to investigate it with solid evidence for the best chance of a prosecution! Except, this way round makes good for statistics... allowing the poorest in society to be bullied off benefits they need, whilst others such as these dishonest people and MPs live it up.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • No comments yet? I'm sure if she came from Chantry or Whitton there would be a load of them already. Should be in jail. What a joke

    Report this comment

    Yarn

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • How does the court think she is going to pay back the £140.000 from the sale of a house she does not own ,working, no she should have gone to prison as this is no small time theft ,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

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