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False claims woman is spared jail

PUBLISHED: 08:13 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

LORNA MARSH

A woman who swindled more than £34,000 in benefits over five years was spared jail yesterday after a judge heard of her remorse and concern for her two young children.

A woman who swindled more than £34,000 in benefits over five years was spared jail yesterday after a judge heard of her remorse and concern for her two young children.

Lynsey Dye, 29, of The Oaks, Rockland St Mary, near Norwich, pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud involving false benefit claims after she failed to inform the authorities about her change in circumstances when she started living with a partner.

The charges date back to 2001 and involve false claims for housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support as a single parent.

The court heard that she received £19,000 in income support, £13,000 in housing benefit and £2,500 in council tax benefit.

The case came to South Norfolk Council's attention by chance when, in 2004, Dye's live-in partner, plumber Joseph Smith, supplied its housing department with a quotation for installing a gas central heating system at one of its properties.

A housing officer noticed the address he was using was the same as where Dye claimed to be living alone and alerted the fraud team.

John Morgans, in mitigation, said Dye's claims had not started out as dishonest and she was now starting to pay some of the cash back, saying the whole experience had been "terrifying" for her.

He said that Dye was of previous good character and was repentant, adding that while the total amount of money was large it had come to her in small instalments.

Mr Morgans added that the false claims took place against a background of insecurity over his client's relationship with Mr Smith.

"It was completely out of character," he said.

"Having to live with the potential of a custodial sentence has put her under stress and, whatever the outcome today, it will be a relief for her to simply know her fate. She has shown absolute and very genuine remorse because she understands the effect her fraudulent claim has had on others. Her greatest fear is for her two children."

Sentencing Dye to 240 hours community service, Recorder Ian Evans told her: "There are clearly important matters in mitigation and, coupled with your remorse and the likelihood that you won't reoffend, and taking into account your children, I do not need to deal with you by way of a custodial sentence."


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