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Bideford woman falsely claimed £12,000 in benefits

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: January 10, 2014

Justice
Comments (10)

A WOMAN who falsely claimed £12,000 in benefits has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Fiona Marie Robinson, 35, of Stucley Road, Bideford, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to notify the authorities that her children were no longer living with her and that she had started working.

The first charge relates to failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions that her children were no longer living with her while claiming income support between November 2011 and June 2013.

The others are in relation to dishonestly claiming council tax benefit between November 2011 and March 2013 and housing benefit between November 2011 and July 2013.

Leader of the Torridge District Council Philip Collins said: “Three prosecutions in recent months gives us no pleasure. But we have a duty to protect the public purse and to prosecute fraudulent benefit claims. As recently proved, our fraud team are there to catch those people who cheat the rest of society by fraudulently claiming.”

Presiding magistrate Judith Killen handed Robinson a six week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with the requirement of a six month probation order that she attends up to eight sessions of an Engage Women programme. She was also told to pay a victim surcharge of £80 and court costs of £85.

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10 comments

  • Pravda  |  January 16 2014, 12:12PM

    I'd say she ought to have been sent down for a year, assuming her income would be a grand a month then that would fir the crime nicely. Looks like her supporters have been voting on this thread, which is pathetic because nobody is interested in vote numbers. We're interested in what people have to say on any given news story.

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  • ArtfulDodger  |  January 15 2014, 11:56AM

    I have not once mentioned prison, read what I am saying before bashing you politics in my ear, I merely said the punishment is not fitting the crime and is not advertising not to do this again!

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  • ndjtom  |  January 15 2014, 9:18AM

    Did you know Britain has a higher proportion of prisoners per population than any other country in Europe? Surely this says something - we need tougher community sentences, as these help society in general. Prisons are expensive and for that reason only people who are a danger to the public should be sent to prison, or perhaps persistent offenders, but no-one else, there is no justification for it. As I explained, prison is not the main punishment, it is life after release that hits offenders far more.

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  • ArtfulDodger  |  January 14 2014, 1:55PM

    NDJTom your commeny is ludicrous, it matters not she is not a physical threat to society, she needs to be properly punished for her crimes, the message this punishment sends out is that other people will not be concerned by it, and also claim fraudulently without fear of any serious punishment.

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  • 154TP  |  January 13 2014, 4:41PM

    ndjtom, Poor Ms Robinson, did she forget that her kids had moved out? I'm sure its easily done forgetting your kids when you fill out a DSS form. Did she forget that she had a job so wasn't entitled to all the other benefits? Can't get job now? Who wants to employe a thief who is happy to steal £12,000! Can't go abroad for years? Maybe she should repay £12,000 before she thinks of a holiday abroad.

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  • ndjtom  |  January 13 2014, 9:22AM

    Some people do not realise the effect that a suspended sentence still has on the criminal. Yes you are free, but what use is it putting someone in prison who is clearly no physical treat to the public? That would be a bigger waste of all our money. The length of her sentence will mean that she will have a criminal record for the next 7 years. She will find it almost impossible to get a job, get a mortgage or get insurance. She will be banned from travelling to numerous countries. For the rest of her life, she will never be able to get any job requiring a CRB check, and she will have to declare her conviction to any employer, financial institution etc. who asks for the next 7 years. We all take it for granted ticking "no" to the number of forms etc. that ask about convictions, but if you think about how often it crops up and the effect that it would have on you if you had to tick "yes". This sentence is not as light as it seems. Often for people convicted of crimes, the true punishment starts once you are released from prison, due to all the aspects that having a record has on your life.

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  • 154TP  |  January 11 2014, 8:24PM

    typical benefit scrounger, take take take until she's caught. If I'd stolen £12.000 from a bank i'd have got 5 years. A benefit scrounger swindles £12,000 from every working person in the country and she walks out of court laughing. No wonder the government want to cut the 'wages' these work shy scroungers receive.

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  • Jonvee  |  January 10 2014, 3:15PM

    Agree punishment should require something back to the community!

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  • ArtfulDodger  |  January 10 2014, 1:53PM

    Benefit fraud is never punished how it should be... The sentences are always pathetically low....

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  • Pravda  |  January 10 2014, 11:02AM

    Disgusting woman, how on earth did she think she'd get away with it in the long run? She must be laughing at the ridiculously light 'sentence' she had received too. She stole £12,000 and got just six weeks as a goal sentence, suspended at that! It'd be nice if magistrates worked out penalties based on dividing criminal gain by the minimum wage, which would have been a lot more of a deterrent than a piffling six week threat!

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