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Woman avoids jail for £18,000 benefits scam
1:00pm Monday 19th August 2013 in News
A WOMAN admitted conning nearly £18,000 in benefits after failing to disclose she was living with her partner.
Basildon Crown Court heard Kendall Bowen, 28, did not reveal her partner, who was staying with her from time to time, eventually moved in and became a permanent fixture at her home in Fairlop Gardens, Basildon.
She failed to disclose he was living there between November 2010 and September 2012, affecting her entitlement to housing and council tax benefits and income support.
In total, Bowen falsely claimed a total of £17,824, which included £9,853 in housing benefit, £2,356 in council tax benefit and£5,615 in income support.
Bowen denied three charges of dishonestly obtaining benefits at first, but later pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court.
She was sentenced to a 12- week suspended jail term and must complete 80-hours of community service.
The court heard although the judge considered Bowen’s crimes meant she should have receivedacustodial sentence, she didn’t as she was given credit for pleading guilty.
However, Stuart Sullivan, Basildon councillor responsible for resources, called for benefit fraudsters to be jailed.
He said: “Judges need to start handing down sentences which will actually act as a deterrent to this sort of crime.
“The responsibility is on the individual to make sure changes in circumstances are reported to the council and we will pursue those who claim, but are not entitled to benefits.”
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