Mum-of-three overpaid £17,000 in benefits

A Burnley mum got £17,000 worth of benefits she was not entitled to when she failed to declare she was living with her partner, a court was told.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 6:27 pm
Burnley Magistrates' Court.

The town’s magistrates heard how Lauren Louise Everitt (28) had split up with Carl Everitt, but failed to tell the authorities when they reconciled. Everitt, now a mother-of-three, was overpaid almost £7,000 in income support and more than £10,000 in child tax credits.

The defendant, of Stainton Drive, admitted being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent payment of tax credits and dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions, between January 2013 and November 2014. Everitt, who has no previous convictions, was given 20 weeks in jail, suspended for a year and must pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge. Prosecutor Miss Aisha Akhtar told the hearing the defendant had claimed benefits on the basis she was a lone parent with two dependent children.

Evidence became available to show she had not declared that her circumstances had changed and that she had reconciled with her partner.

Mr Jeremy Coleman (defending) said she had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He told the hearing: “She is one of those people in a relationship, the relationship breaks down and she has to resort to applying for benefits. The relationship reconciles and it doesn’t necessarily reconcile overnight.

“That, in effect, is what has happened. At the outset, this was an honest claim.”