Dunstable Woman in £115,000 Benefit Fraud

A woman who admitted illegally claiming almost £115,000 in benefits over a seven-year period has escaped a jail term.

Carina Gibbs, 41, of Chiltern Road, Dunstable, falsely claimed to be single, when she was in fact living with her partner.

Yesterday (11 December) she returned to the dock at Luton Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to three charges of benefit fraud at the same court on 28 October.

The mother of five was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, will have to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £250 towards the prosecution costs. She will also have to pay back all of the money which she has fraudulently claimed.

Gibbs was charged following a joint investigation between the council’s Revenues and Benefits team and the Department for Work and Pensions.

It revealed that despite claiming to be single, she had been living with her partner since 2 May 2006. During that period Gibbs claimed £114,882.80, which was made up of £91,960.74 of income support, £19,007.63 of housing benefit and £3,914.43 of council tax benefit.

The court was told that Gibbs is the sole carer to her children, and also heard that she was of previous good character, which were both taken into account during sentencing.

Anyone who suspects that someone may be claiming benefits illegally can call the council’s confidential 24-hour fraud hotline on 0300 300 5577.

Anyone who has any questions about their benefits, or to find out whether they are eligible to claim, should ring the money and benefits hotline on 0300 300 8306.

Reposted from CBC