Woman in court over benefit claims

Craven Herald: Skipton Magistrates' Court Skipton Magistrates' Court

CARLETON woman Joanne Goulthore has been sentenced by magistrates to 40 hours unpaid work for falsely claiming £9,833 in benefits.

Goulthorpe, 41, failed to notify Craven District Council that she shared a home with her partner Jason Payne and that he was was contributing to the household expenses, Skipton magistrates heard on Friday (june 20).

And although her claim was correct at the start, it became false in April, 2011 and continued until August last year, when she was interviewed by council officers.

She wrongfully received £4, 190 in income support, £2, 039 in job seekers allowance, £3, 050 in housing benefit and £552 in council tax benefit.

Investigating officers from the council discovered details linking Mr Payne with Goulthorpe's home in Dale Road including a Next Directory account, breakdown cover with the Automobile Association, and an account with BT.

Mr Payne had also given the address to his employer and had registered his engagement to Goulthorpe on Facebook.

Goulthorpe, who admitted six counts of producing a false benefit claim, and two of failing to notify the council of a change in her circumstances, had started repaying some of the money at a rate of £150 per month, the court heard.

In mitigation, Nigel Jamieson said Goulthorpe had been contacted by a debt collecting agency and she accepted the money would have to be re-paid.

He said she had never done anything wrong before and since August last year had thought of little else.

Mr Jamieson said Goulthorpe maintained she was single, that the couple - who had two children together - had separated some years ago, but that Mr Payne use d her address and that they maintained a practical relationship.

"She accepts she was negligent and did not declare there was someone making financial contributions although on an ad-hoc basis," he said.

Goulthorpe, of Dale Road, was handed a 12 month community order with supervision in addition to the 40 hours unpaid work. She will also have to pay costs of £100 and victims surcharge of £60.

ends

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