A welfare cheat has been fined after illegally claiming over £7,000

A benefit cheat has been caught after she illegally claimed over £7,000 in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance when she had £20,000 in savings.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 8:25 am
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 10:06 am
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Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Thursday, December 15, how Emma Miriam Walton, 28, admitted committing five counts of making false claims for benefits between March, 2011, and November, 2012.

Prosecuting solicitor John Cooper said: “The allegation is that she claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance on the basis she was not working and did not have savings over the £13,000 threshold and she claimed income support after being pregnant and having a child and said she had no savings.

“But the evidence is that she had savings which should have been declared therefore she was being over paid when she had money in savings in excess of £20,000 in various accounts.”

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The court heard how Walton illegally claimed a total of £7,286.46 in benefits.

She pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions to obtain income support on or about April 4, 2012, and November 17, 2012, without declaring her capital.

Walton also pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions to obtain Jobseeker’s Allowance on or about March 25, 2011, November 11, 2011, and February 9, 2012, without declaring her capital.

Defence solicitor Kevin Gillott said: “She is paying what is owed back already and she has been for quite a while. She had inherited her savings as a child and these were invested on her behalf.”

Mr Gillott explained Walton had suffered a breakdown in relationships with her family and was living a life among bad company and she knew she should have declared her savings but she did not.

Mobile hairdresser Walton, who is a single parent with three children, had spent her money on living costs, according to Mr Gillott, and had not spent the money on a lavish lifestyle.

Mr Gillott added: “She feels remorse and has been terrified about what might happen to her and she has been fearful about the prospect of custody.

“She had gone off the rails but she has now become reconciled with her family.”

District Judge Andrew Davison accepted Walton’s remorse as genuine and told her that he did not expect her to re-offend and be back before the courts again.

He fined Walton £1,200 and ordered her to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £100 costs.