Benefit fraudster handed prison sentence
By jashby1 | Monday, May 14, 2012, 17:51
Carol Knight (65) of Townsend, Marston Magna has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison by Yeovil Magistrates.
The district council encourages anyone with information relating to benefit fraud to get in contact.
The verdict was made on Thursday March 22 after Mrs Knight failed to tell South Somerset District Council she had inherited a large amount of money, which she had hidden in an undisclosed bank account.
The fraud was revealed during a data matching exercise with other organisations and Mrs Knight was found to have obtained over £20,000 of benefit that she was not entitled to receive.
Mrs Knight had appealed against the sentence but Mr Recorder P M Blair QC confirmed the sentence in a hearing at Taunton Crown Court, and awarded costs to the Council.
Mrs Knight was represented by Harry Ahuja of Octagon Chambers, and Garth Richardson of Rougemont Chambers appeared for the Council.
Mr Ahuja invited the Court to read the pre sentence report, and pointed out that his client had acknowledged she had been fraudulent, and gave details about her background and benefit claim.
He argued there was no benefit to society in activating the sentence imposed by the Magistrates in March, and that the period of imprisonment should be suspended due to her age, health, previous good character and the fact that she had repaid the money in full.
The Judge listed to the mitigation, but felt the Magistrates had been too lenient. He said that what had not been taken into account was that this act had been deliberate and the sentence was designed to be a deterrent to others.
He went on to say that he did not think the £1010 costs should be borne by the tax payer and ordered that they were paid by Mrs Knight within three months.
The appeal was dismissed, and Mrs Knight was taken away to start her sentence.