Benefit thief faces prison after £20,000 fraud
By Angelocal | Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 12:20
Carol Knight (65) of Townsend, Marston Magna has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison by Yeovil Magistrates for failing to inform SSDC she had inherited a large amount of money which she had hidden it in an undisclosed bank account.
The district council encourage anyone with information relating to benefit fraud to get in contact.
The fraud was revealed during a data matching exercise with other organisations, and Mrs Knight was foound to have obtained over £20,000 of benefit that she was not entitled to receive.
Yeovil Magistrates had found Mrs Knight guilty earlier in the month and the hearing had been adjourned to allow probation reports to be undertaken.
Harry Ahuja of Octagon Chambers, who represented Mrs Knight, asked that the case was dealt with sympathetically because his client was very remorseful and regretted not being honest with the Council.
The probation officers' report had indicated that unpaid work was not an option for Mrs Knight and the Magistrates were asked to consider the option of a curfew.
The Magistrates felt that this matter was serious enough for a custodial sentence, and while full credit had been given for her guilty plea to all ten charges, no other option was available.
Mrs Knight was sentenced to eight weeks in prison for each offence to run concurrently.
An appeal was made against the sentence and a request was put in by the Defence asking that Mrs Knight was released on bail while waiting for the hearing. The Legal team from the Council did not object, and bail was granted.
Alison Creagh, Senior Investigations Officer said: 'I am delighted with the outcome of this case. This sends a very clear message to anyone who is, or is thinking about, committing benefit fraud, that there will be serious consequences for their actions.
"The Litigation and Investigation teams will continue to work very hard to track these people down and bring them to justice."