A benefits cheat mum who lied her way to nearly £27,000, had kept quiet about her two children being adopted, a court heard.
Katrina Jones (22),of Williams Road, Burnley, carried out the scam over four years, signing documents saying there had been no change in her circumstances, Burnley Crown Court heard.
She started claiming benefits when she was 17 and had netted £26,982.33 by making three applications for income support, and also got housing and council tax benefits from Burnley Council.
She has a third child she is looking after with social services support but the authorities will be applying for an interim care order. She admitted two allegations of benefit fraud and received a community order with two years’ supervision and the Lancashire Women’s Specified Activity Requirement.
Jones claimed income support, with two gaps in between, from March 2010 until January 2013. She received housing benefit from May 2012 to January 2014, council tax benefits from May 2012 until January 2013 and tax credits from April 2010 until April 2014.
Roger Brown, for the Department for Work and Pensions, said Jones became entitled to income support before the birth of her first child. When the child was taken into care immediately after birth she believed she was entitled to benefits because she believed she had joint control. The youngster was adopted in February 2013 but Jones continued to claim some benefits. She was living with her partner who was getting employment support allowance for himself and the defendant and she was also receiving tax credits for the first child. Her second child was adopted but she claimed income support as a lone parent. The couple separated then got back together but she still claimed benefits. He said the overpayment will be recovered by civil procedures.”
Sentencing, Recorder Tania Griffiths QC said it was not a fraud from the outset but Jones had lied. She had been saved from custody by pleading guilty. She had no previous convictions and had been coping with little external support, which she now has.