Mother jailed for swindle

A SUFFOLK woman will take more than 100 years to pay back money she stole by making false benefit claims a court heard today.The mother of four was jailed for 10 months for stealing £25,894 from Suffolk Coastal District Council and Inland Revenue.

A SUFFOLK woman will take more than 100 years to pay back money she stole by making false benefit claims a court heard today.

The mother of four was jailed for 10 months for stealing £25,894 from Suffolk Coastal District Council and Inland Revenue.

Susan Vincent, 37, of Harling Way, Leiston, filled in working family tax credit forms, council tax forms and housing benefit forms stating that her husband was not living with her and was not working.

She pleaded guilty to four charges of false accounting and asked for three similar offences to be taken into consideration.


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Ipswich Crown Court heard that the false claims were made over a five-year period between 1996 and 2001. Vincent, who has a criminal record for dishonesty including theft and obtaining property by deception, stole more than £17,000 from the District Council and around £8,000 from Inland Revenue.

The court heard that she was paying back £20 per week to the District Council and £10 per week to Inland Revenue.

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Quentin Hunt prosecuting said: "It'll take over 100 years to pay back the money."

He added that when Vincent's home was searched she was asked if her husband lived with her, she replied: "Of course he does".

Mr Hunt added: "The defendant's husband, Gary Vincent, was living with her during the time of these claims and was mostly in employment during the period of these claims."

He said Vincent knew she would not receive the benefits if she told the truth.

Rosalyn Mandel-Wade, mitigating said Vincent had spent the money on household expenses rather than on a luxurious lifestyle.

She added that the family had been in debt when the offences were committed and Vincent and her four teenage children had been threatened with eviction.

Judge John Devaux said there was no possibility of Vincent paying all the money back and a custodial sentence was inevitable.

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