Woman cheated system out of £30,000

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

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A woman cheated the benefits system out of more than £30,000 when she failed to declare cleaning work she was doing.

Yvonne Thomas’s fraud was spread over a 14-year period, Blackpool Magistrates were told.

The 63-year-old’s claims were legitimate at the outset when she suffered a horse riding injury but she recovered enough to work.

However she failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions and her local authority.

As a result she was overpaid £31,916 in Disabled Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance.

Malcolm Isherwood, prosecuting,said the Crown would be making a Proceeds of Crime application to get money back and that would have to be heard by a Crown Court judge.

Magistrates sent Thomas, of Rookwood Avenue, Cleveleys, for sentence at the higher court.

She was bailed and pre- sentence reports are to be compiled on her in the meantime.

The court heard how investigators found that regular payments were being paid into the defendant’s bank account.

They also found a single deposit of £30,000 made to her.

At her first interview under caution she refused to say where this money had come from but later admitted doing cleaning work and errands for which she was paid.

She said the £30,000 was an inheritance for her daughter which was paid into the mother’s account to protect the money from falling into the hands of the daughter’s boyfriend described during the hearing as “an unsavoury character familiar with the courts.”

Thomas admitted four offences of fraud committed between 2005 and 2014.