A GRANDMOTHER has been publicly shamed as a fraudster and will be repaying the taxpayer for the rest of her life after she cheated her way to £53,721 in benefits she was not entitled to.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said on average Jacqueline Robinson, 67, got £100 a week over 10 years that she was not entitled to.
Michael Bosomworth, prosecuting told York Crown Court she claimed she was a single woman living alone, when in reality she was living with her partner, a former Army man.
He was earning between £300 and £600 a week as a long-distance lorry driver.
Her claims for income support, pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit were fraudulent from the start, he said.
He added she regularly withdrew £170 from the couple’s joint bank account to pay household expenses.
Now the Department of Work and Pensions is reclaiming the money she should never have received.
The court heard that this will take the rest of her life to pay at £45 a week.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told her: “The principal punishment in your case will be the fact you will be identified publicly as someone who has cheated the system.
“I hope you are ashamed of your behaviour.”
The repayments could leave her hard-up in future.
“You have only got yourself to blame for the situation you are in,” he said.
Robinson, of Tostig Avenue, Acomb, pleaded guilty to benefit fraud from 2002 to 2011 involving four different benefits and was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Mr Bosomworth said she told investigators she lived alone at her home the majority of the time.
He said:“She claimed as he was only staying there (at her home) twice a week she thought that didn’t affect her benefit.”
Charles Blatchford, mitigating, said of the situation that arose: “It is a curious case.”
He added: “They were legally divorced but having had a life together when she was essentially an Army wife, the arrangement seemed to carry on.”
Her said her actions were due to a “lack of understanding” about the situation.
“There is some possibility there is a lack of support from her former partner/husband that may have encouraged her to seek the benefits she sought,” he said.