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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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£45,000 benefits fiddle woman faces prison

A benefit frausdster could face jail after she admitted falsely claiming nearly £45,000.

Lynn Harrison, 30, of North View, Aspatria, pleaded guilty to two charges at Carlisle Crown Court.

The first was that she did not notify a change in her circumstances with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that affected her entitlement to Income Support between December 1, 2007, and July 30, 2013.

She also admitted not alerting Allerdale council to changes in her situation that affected her right to housing benefit and council tax benefit in the same period of time.

Kim Whittlestone, defending, told the court the change in circumstances was that she has had been living with her husband, Mark, following a period when they had been living apart.

“The defendant was of previous good character and her husband is in court today, now they are firmly back together,” she said.

“Their relationship got into difficulties after the defendant was diagnosed with depression.”

They split up in 2006 and Harrison applied for the benefits shortly afterwards. However, the pair were reconciled in December the following year.

“She is well aware that she should have notified the agencies at this time but they were in financial difficulties,” Ms Whittlestone said.

Miss Whittlestone added that Harrison – who appeared in court wearing a blue dress and a dark jacket – was now making repayments to the DWP and to the council. She said: “It was a long period of time. She acknowledges that.”

The amount claimed was said to be approaching £45,000.

The judge, Recorder Kevin Grice, ordered that reports needed to be prepared by the probation sentence before she could be sentenced and allowed Harrison to leave on bail.

But he said: “The fact that you have been granted bail and that I have ordered a report should not be taken as an indication of what will happen. This is a case where custody is likely.”

Harrison will be sentenced on Wednesday September 3.

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