Published: 16:00, 27 July 2017 |
Updated: 14:13, 28 July 2017
A benefit cheat caught defrauding the authorities out of £15,246.38 while working as an ice cream lady has avoided jail.
Jean Bushell, of Pavillion Court Marine Terrace, Folkestone, entered guilty pleas to seven counts of benefit fraud, at Folkestone Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
But the 52-year-old grandmother will only have to pay back £10 a fortnight of a £200 fine.
The court heard Bushell, who worked seasonally, claimed housing and council tax benefit alongside employment support allowance, while working up to 30-hours-per week between 2012 and 2015.
Defending, Robin Jackson said Bushell was “extremely remorseful” and the fraud was “entirely out of character.”
He said her husband had been the main breadwinner until three years ago, when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) forced him to leave work.
He continued: “She is a lady who has never been before the court before, something that is out of her character.
“Mrs Bushell has been living in an extremely stressful environment, she is the soul carer of her partner.
“He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He did not come to court today because he is not very good around people, he can react aggressively.”
Victoria Gedge, prosecuting, told how Bushell failed to notify the authorities that she was employed.
Sentencing, magistrate Chris Mackenny said: "This is a lot of money and it has grown over the years. We feel that taking into account all of your circumstances that a suspended sentence will be sufficient.”
Bushell was given a prison sentence of 90 days for each of the seven charges, suspended over a period of 12 months and a £200 fine.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “Only a small minority of people try to commit benefit fraud but cases like this show we always investigate anyone suspected of fraud and prosecute if there is evidence of wrongdoing.
“If you suspect someone of fraudulently claiming benefits, then call our National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440."
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
We have four editions of our Kent Homes, Gardens and Interiors magazine for you to read. Click here to view them all.