Benefits scam woman could be facing jail

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A woman who kept quiet about getting a pension could be facing jail for a near £28,000 benefits scam.

Burnley magistrates heard how Mandy Cook received a pension from the Army, but claimed employment and support allowance, income support and jobseeker’s allowance over four years.

The 39-year-old committed a string of offences, even though she had been asked at least twice, on a claim from and in a telephone call, if she had a pension.

The hearing was told Cook, who received £27,190.18 she wasn’t entitled to, committed fraud from the outset in her claim for cash from the public purse.

The defendant, of Waddington Avenue, Burnley, has now been committed to the town’s town court for sentence in November, after the bench decided the case was too serious to be dealt with by magistrates.

Cook admitted three counts of dishonesty failing to disclose information to the Department for Work and Pensions to make a gain – regarding ESA between August 25th, 2012, and January 17th, 2013, and JSA between January 18th and August 14th, 2013, and May 12th and September 21st, 2014.

She also pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation, involving income support, on or about between September 24th, 2014, and ESA on or about August 27th, 2013.

All the offences took place at Burnley.

Mrs Tracy Yates (prosecuting) told the court after an investigation by the DWP, evidence was obtained showing Cook got an Army pension, which she had not declared, even though she was asked on at least two occasions if she had such a pension.

The prosecutor said: “She had received a pension since 2000 from the Army and claimed benefits between August 2012 and June 2016.”

Mrs Yates said the claim was a fraud from the outset and the starting point for what the defendant had done was 18 months’ custody.

She added: “These matters are clearly outside this court’s powers.”