Burnley mum claimed benefits while she had £23,000 in savings

Burnley Magistrates Court
Burnley Magistrates Court

A MOTHER-OF-TWO from Burnley has admitted claiming thousands of pounds in benefits despite sitting on £23,000 in savings.

Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard how Rashida Begum (27) failed to notify the authorities of the cash for four years - despite it being £7,000 above the limit for savings.

The defendant, of Burns Street, was said to have been over-paid almost £3,500 during the period.

She pleaded guilty before Burnley magistrates to failing to notify her changes in circumstances to entitlement for social security money.

Begum, who has no previous convictions, was given a fine of £110 on top of £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

Sentencing, magistrate Mr Padia said: “It is benefit fraud. You pleaded guilty to it.

“Ultimately the public pay - the money doesn’t come from nowhere. Everyone pays taxes and everyone has to pay for what you did.”

The court heard how Begum, who cares for her two children - one of whom is disabled - had 11 bank accounts with savings totalling £23,000.

But prosecution solicitor Mr Andrew Robinson said when she admitted the crime said she thought only one account had to be declared.

He said: “It is said to be a case where this lady, for three years and seven months, failed to declare capital in excess of £16,000.

“She had savings over the allowed limit
“There was an over-payment of £3,466.32.”

Miss Laura Heywood (defending) said the defendant had suffered an accident at a school where she broke her finger. The injury led her to being given a large amount of compensation.

Miss Heywood said her client had put this significant cash sum in a separate bank account for her children’s future.

The solicitor said: “She did not realise she had to declare that.

“She now realises it is money she had to she should have declared to the benefits agency.

“It was not fraud - it was a legitimate claim at the start.

“She has limited understanding of English and got help from her friend and her father - that is maybe why she did not declared the money because it was not properly explained to her.

“She now has a voluntary agreement with the benefits agency to repay the amount.”