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Kidderminster mum spared jail after £33k bogus benefits claims
3:38pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
A MOTHER of two who cheated the benefits system by falsely claiming over £33,000 has been spared an immediate prison sentence.
Emma Crisp, 29, of Dowles Road, Kidderminster, obtained income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit as a single mother, Worcester Crown Court heard but she failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions and Wyre Forest District Council that she was living with her boyfriend, who was employed.
The fraud began in 2006 and ended in 2011, when the fiddle was uncovered, said Harpreet Sandhu, prosecuting.
Judge Michael Cullum told Crisp she was responsible for "large-scale, brazen fraud" but had been trapped by photographic evidence.
He went on: "You fleeced the public purse quite deliberately and stigmatised genuine claimants, taking funds they needed."
The judge noted that Crisp's boyfriend even took paternity leave from work but he decided to give her a chance because she was caring for two children, aged 9 and 6, and had entered a guilty plea to benefit fraud.
Crisp was given 24 weeks jail, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work.
She had claimed benefits legally at first before she began cohabiting with her boyfriend said Mr Sandhu. She obtained a total of £33,749 to which she was not entitled.
Crisp had no previous convictions and was paying the money back in small instalments.
Defending, Jason Patel said Crisp had accumulated debts of £10,000 before she turned to crime. Her boyfriend was also in debt.
He said: "She has shown genuine remorse and accepts full responsibility. She is deeply ashamed of her actions."