Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Cumbrian pensioner falsely claimed £36,000 in benefits

A pensioner fraudulently claimed more than £36,000 in benefits while spending long stretches living abroad.

Dorothy Little photo
Dorothy Little

Dorothy Little, 70, of Stanley Road in Brampton, failed to tell officials she was spending four to five months at a time living with a friend in Turkey.

Carlisle Crown Court heard yesterday how the benefits fiddle took place over a five year period lasting up to last year.

Little came to court yesterday – supported by a maroon zimmer frame-style piece of equipment on wheels – to be sentenced for the fraud.

She admitting two charges of failing to notify of a change in circumstances and was sentenced to nine months in prison for each charge, to run concurrently and be suspended for a year.

David Birrell, prosecuting, told the court the benefits she claimed fraudulently were pension credit and disabled living allowance.

He said her eligibility for these benefits were based on her being a resident in the UK.

“It would not be right for those living abroad to receive state assistance from this Government,” he said,

“Plainly she had a duty to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of the fact she was living abroad.”

The fiddle came to light in April last year, the court was told, but Little at first “appeared to be saying she had told the department,” added Mr Birrell.

“There was no such record.”

Greg Hoare, in mitigation, said if she had stayed in this country and not left for periods abroad there would not have been an offence.

“The problem was she did go to live with a friend in Turkey for extended periods,” he told the court.

Mr Hoare said that Little “suffers from a number of physical ailments” and said this was a “therapeutic time”.

“She wasn’t living the high life,” he added.

Deductions were now being made from benefits to which she is entitled.

The judge, Mr Recorder Kevin Talbot, also imposed a two month 9pm to 9am curfew. The suspended prison sentences will run concurrently.


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