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Anna Kelly in court for £26k benefits fraud
A wife who cheated the taxpayer out of £26,528 by claiming benefits as a single parent has received a suspended prison sentence.
Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, said Anna Kelly, 38, had joint bank accounts and car insurance with her husband Steven and went on family holidays with him.
But she told the benefit authorities she was separated from him and lived as a single parent with two children, York Crown Court heard.
In just over two years, she claimed more than £3,750 in Jobseekers Allowance, about £16,900 in housing benefit, just under £3,200 in income support and just over £2,700 in council tax benefit she was not entitled to.
Judge Neil Clark told her: “What you were doing was stealing from the general public and taking money which would have been spent better elsewhere, in order that you had more money to spend on your family."
He said he was not suggesting that she lived an extravagant lifestyle and said that there had to be a programme laid down for her to repay the money.
Mr Devlin said she had repaid £3,000.
In other benefit fraud cases, the authorities have got civil court orders forcing repayment, or reduce any benefits paid legitimately to the fraudster until all the money has been repaid.
Kelly, 38, of Cherry Lane, York, pleaded guilty to seven offences of benefit fraud and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition she did 220 hours' unpaid work. She also had to pay £500 prosecution costs.
For Kelly, Mark Thompson said she wanted to repay all the money she claimed illegally and gave no further mitigation after the judge indicated the kind of sentence he would pass.