Benefit cheat falsely claimed over £24k

A benefit cheat who falsely claimed more than £24,000 was yesterday given a suspended prison sentence.

A benefit cheat who falsely claimed more than £24,000 was yesterday given a suspended prison sentence.

Carol Steadman, 59, had previously pleaded guilty to five offences of dishonestly making claims for housing and council tax benefit totalling £24,153.69.

At Thetford Magistrates' Court yesterday, she was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years - two months for each of the five offences.

Steadman, of Sandringham Way, Swaffham, was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in costs.

Her dishonesty was discovered thanks to a data-match system that showed she had been receiving working tax credits that she was not declaring.

Steadman had claimed housing and council tax benefit since 1993 as her husband was disabled, and she said their only income was incapacity benefit, disability living allowance and carers allowance.

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But from January 1997, Steadman had worked for Norfolk County Services without declaring her earnings.

She also made her fifth claim for incapacity benefit, disability living allowance and carers allowance in January 2006, a month after her husband died.