Supervision order for Quarry Bank benefit fraudster

A 47-YEAR-OLD Quarry Bank woman who fiddled nearly £13,000 in benefits when she had banked over £90,000 from her divorce settlement and two legacies has been placed on Supervision for six months.

Judge Michael Dudley at Wolverhampton Crown Court told Joanne Watton it was to her credit she had repaid the bulk of the money she had defrauded from the public purse and he added: "Benefit fraud is always a serious offence because it affects every tax and council tax payer and people get very angry about others defrauding the system."

Watton, of Birch Avenue, admitted seven charges of benefit fraud and was further ordered by the judge to pay £1,000 costs.

Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said Watton failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions that she had received £37,000 as part of her divorce settlement.

And she also failed to notify the authorities she had picked up £20,000 and £35,000 in separate legacies as she continued to claim benefits.

Gurdeep Garcha, defending, told the court that Watton, a woman of previous good character, was deeply ashamed of her actions.

Mr Jackson said the fraud was carried on by Watton between December 2008 and April 2012 and she had pocketed a total of £12,791.

The money she had in her bank account, he went on, far exceeded the amount of savings a person was allowed to have when they applied for benefit payments.

Mr Jackson concluded: "The benefits were paid to her on the basis she had no savings and no capital."

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