Mum of five spared jail term after claiming over £34,000 in benefits

A mum of five has been spared a jail term after admitting two offences of benefit fraud that spanned seven years.

Marie Bryan, 34, of Southside Drive, Braunstone, Leicester, netted more than £34,000 in benefits from Blaby District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, claiming she was an unemployed single parent.

Leicester Crown Court heard that being a single mum and not working, Marie had qualified for income support and full housing and council tax benefits.

However she failed to inform the authorities when her partner, Aaron Baxter, came to live with her and that he was working. They had four children together.

Marie pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court on Monday 5th November 2012 to two charges of dishonestly making false statements to obtain just over £34k in benefit.

She was sentenced on Thursday 29th November 2012 and was given a 12 month community order with a requirement to complete 40 days at the Just Women Project in Braunstone.

Sentencing Judge Michael Pert QC said he was offering her an opportunity for a fresh start and it would be pointless to hand out a prison sentence, which would only be for a few weeks.

The overpaid benefits are being recovered by Blaby District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Councillor John Hudson, Finance and Efficiency portfolio holder at Blaby District Council, said:

“In this tough economic climate the public cannot afford to pay for people who are claiming benefits they are not entitled to.

“We will continue to work with other agencies to root out fraudsters who cost hardworking tax payers millions of pounds each year.”

Benefit cheats in Blaby district can be reported online at www.blaby.gov.uk/fraud or by calling 0116 272 7733. All calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

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