Benefit fraud mum jailed

A MOTHER of two from Huntington has been jailed for 15 months for benefit fraud. Joanne Tack, 26, of St Barnabas Court, whose children are four and six, pleaded guilty to five charges of benefit fraud amounting to £45,000. In November, Huntingdon Magi

A MOTHER of two from Huntington has been jailed for 15 months for benefit fraud. Joanne Tack, 26, of St Barnabas Court, whose children are four and six, pleaded guilty to five charges of benefit fraud amounting to £45,000. In November, Huntingdon Magistrates Court was told that Tack claimed benefit between 1999 and 2004 by declaring that she was an unemployed, lone parent, when she was actually living with her partner Dean Smith.Robert Raib, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions and Huntingdonshire District Council, said that Tack had fraudulently claimed income support, housing benefit, and Council Tax benefit.Mr Raib said Tack began signing on for benefits legitimately in 1998 but in 1999 was living with Mr Smith. "Over a series of years, she signed forms indicating that she remained a single woman and was not living with partner, even though she was," he said.The court heard that, though Mr Smith was working, he did not contribute to the household expenses. It is understood that he will now look after the couple's two children. Alison Summers said in mitigation that Tack had admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity, and although the sums appeared to be large, she was receiving only £200 a fortnight with bills and food coming to £185. The fraud had not funded a luxurious lifestyle. Tack had thought that, if Mr Smith stayed with her only a few nights a week, she would not have to declare the fact, although she accepted that he was living in the house.Judge Neil McKittrick said: "The money provided by the state is not a bottomless pit." He said custody was inevitable for such an offence.n IN two other cases of benefit fraud just before Christmas, a woman from Bluntisham pleaded guilty to falsely obtaining £5,801 housing benefit and £1,217 Council Tax benefit by saying she was single, when she was living with a partner. The court was told that she repaid the money in full as soon as the fraud was discovered. The magistrates took this into account when passing sentence, and ordered a two-year conditional discharge. She was also ordered to pay £200 costs.A man from Eaton Socon, pleaded guilty to falsely claiming £2,239 housing benefit and £619 Council Tax benefit by saying he was unemployed when he was working. He was sentenced to 40 hours' community punishment and ordered to pay £200 costs.

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