Suspended sentence for benefit fraud

editorial image

A Ballymena woman who once told a benefits fraud investigator she “didn’t live, or share a bed, with anyone” has been given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Michelle Scott (37), of Lettercreeve, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday in connection with the fraud which involved her having to pay back £10,000.

In March 2013 she made a false declaration in that she did not disclose she was living with a man and had obtained Income Support.

The defendant also committed fraud by failing to disclose information that she was living with the man regarding a period up until December, 2015.

Earlier this year, District Judge Peter King deferred sentencing until June, saying he wanted to see repayments.

At last Thursday’s court appearance, defence barrister Michael Smyth said that the mother of young children, who suffers from a heart condition, had been paying backthe money at £200 a month .

He told the court that at that rate it would take four years for the repayment to be made.

Suspected benefit fraud can be reported to the Department for Communities anonymously. Find out more at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/benefit-fraud