Chippenham benefits who cheat owned house and had savings spared jail

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A benefits cheat who failed to declare her share in her son's house when she claimed state handouts has been ordered to do community service A benefits cheat who failed to declare her share in her son's house when she claimed state handouts has been ordered to do community service

A benefit cheat who failed to declare her share in her son's house when she claimed state handouts has been ordered to do community service.

Christina Dunn, 55, also failed to mention having thousands salted away in an ISA when she applied for claimed job seeker's allowance, housing and council tax benefit.

But when Dunn, of Field View, Chippenham, revealed she had some cash in a tax-free account investigators took a look at her finances.

And not only did they find she had twice as much as she claimed in savings but she also had a £39,000 share in a house in Peterborough.

Joanna Morrissey, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Friday that Dunn claimed she only had £3,200 in an ISA when in reality it was between £6,500 and £7,000.

When she was questioned she said Dunn told them the house had been transferred into her son's name, but that did not take place until January last year.

She said the defendant had started claiming the benefits in October 2009 and the total loss to the public purse by her deception was £22,357.

Dunn pleaded guilty to 14 counts of making a false statement with a view to obtaining benefit.

She pleaded not guilty to a more serious charge of dishonestly making a false representation to obtain benefit and the Crown offered no evidence on that.

Robin Shellard, defending, said there was no suggestion she had acted dishonesty in failing to disclose her finances.

He said the house was lived in by her severely dyslexic son and he had not transferred it to his name.

In recent months she has been working at the Royal United Hospital in Bath but that contract was coming to an end.

He said her benefits had stopped and she had been using the money in her ISA to survive on.

Passing sentence, Judge Tim Mousley QC said: "I have read all about you in the pre-sentence report and you are at a low risk of reoffending."

He imposed a one-year community order with six months of supervision, 80 hours of unpaid work and £250 in costs.

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