Mum’s �25k benefit fraud

A 39-YEAR-OLD Weston mum has been handed a suspended prison sentence after fraudulently claiming nearly �25,000 in benefits.

Bookkeeper Kirsty Dobbins, of Addicott Road, was found guilty by jurors at Harrow Crown Court of six counts of tax credit fraud.

The court heard how the mum-of-two submitted false claims – backed up by dozens of phone calls to benefits workers – claiming for her children as a single parent.

However, the truth was that she was living with the children’s father, and therefore not entitled to the �24,559.44 she swindled from benefits agencies between 2004 and 2008.

Mike O’Grady, assistant director of criminal investigation for HM Revenue and Customs condemned Dobbins’ actions.

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He said: “Dobbins deliberately lied about her circumstances to maximise the fraud and steal funds meant for those in real need of financial help.

“We treat tax credit fraud very seriously and we will take action to pursue and prosecute those caught committing this type of crime.”

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Dobbins was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

She will also be electronically tagged to ensure she adheres to a strict three-month curfew, and be forced to complete 150 hours’ unpaid community work.

A further order seeking confiscation of her assets is now being sought by prosecutors.

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