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12 Apr 2018

Repeat criminal did benefit fraud

A carer fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds worth of benefits while working at a nursing home.

Lisa Buckley claimed more than £4,000 in housing benefit and Employment and Support Allowance on the basis that she was not fit for work.

But while she was making these claims she was working full-time as a care assistant at Lindley Grange Nursing Home.

The 48-year-old admitted benefit fraud on the day she was due to stand trial at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court.

The Huddersfield court was told that her claims were fraudulent from the outset when she started making them in May 2016.

Andy Wills, prosecuting, said that Buckley applied for ESA on the basis that she was unfit for work and had no other source of income. She provided a medical certificate and was subsequently paid housing benefit, also between May and November of the same year.

Mr Wills said: “This money was paid directly into her bank account on the basis that she must tell the Department for Work and Pensions and Kirklees Council of any changes in her circumstances which may affect her entitlement. It then came to light that she was working for a company, the Bupa care service, as a care assistant at Lindley Grange Care Home. She was working full-time and started there on November 3, 2015.”

Magistrates were told that Buckley, of no fixed address but formally of Moldgreen, was invited to attend several police interviews about her benefit claims. She failed to do so, claiming that she was unavailable due to a training course and then a new rota and was eventually charged with the offences without being interviewed.

Magistrates were told that she was overpaid a total of £4,075 as a result of her deception.

Buckley had denied benefit fraud but on the day of her trial pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit.

She has 35 offences to her name, including shoplifting, producing cannabis and obtaining property by deception.

Sonia Kidd, mitigating, said that her client had suffered following the death of the ex-partner she described as her “best friend” and father of her children.

Mrs Kidd said: “That’s had a devastating effect on her and at the time she simply didn’t know what she was doing from one day to the next. It had massive consequences in relation to her daily living and she fell into significant depression. It was at this time that the claim was made and it has to be accepted that her application was dishonest from the outset.”

Magistrates heard that Buckley lost her job in November as a result of her offending and was evicted from her property due to money owed to her landlord.

She is now in receipt of Universal Credit as a result of these losses, the court was told.

Magistrates sentenced her to a nine month community order with up to 15 days of rehabilitation activities. She will have to pay £100 towards prosecution costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Source with pictures

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