Ipswich benefit cheat admits falsely claiming more than £7,000

Benefit cheat fined

Benefit cheat fined - Credit: Archant

A 31-year-old Ipswich woman has been fined after admitting she falsely claimed more than £7,000 in benefits.

Sarah Jones, of Waterford Road, pleaded guilty to three charges when she appeared before Ipswich magistrates.

Jones admitted dishonestly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances relating to employment support allowance (ESA) between October 10, 2013, and June 30, 2014, while in receipt of student income.

She also pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making a false statement in August and November 2014 by failing to say she was a full-time student when claiming jobseekers’ allowance, and being in receipt of student income when claiming ESA.

Prosecutor Tess Mann said the money was claimed on the basis of Jones being incapable of work and having no other income.

The period she falsely claimed benefits for was two years and nine months.

The total overpayment came to £7,357.27.

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Mrs Mann said Jones had no previous convictions.

John Hughes, mitigating, said Jones’ original claim was legitimate.

However, she failed to notify the authorities when she had difficulties in going back to university. She is now attempting to pay back the money.

Magistrates fined Jones a total of £800, and ordered her to pay £50 costs as well as £40 to the victims’ fund.

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