Cleaner wrongly claimed £1k benefits
CLEANER Christine Leon has been sentenced to 40 hours unpaid work after she was overpaid more than £1,000 in benefits.
The 53-year-old, of Nethercote Place, Bentilee, pleaded guilty to eight offences of benefit fraud but North Staffordshire magistrates heard they did not involve an element of dishonesty.
The court heard Leon was overpaid £1,218.75 in council tax benefit and housing benefit.
Prosecutor Jeanette Tsoi said Leon did not tell the authorities she had an ISA, Pathfinder and Smart Saver accounts when she made her benefit claims. But the court heard the money did not belong to Leon, although her counsel, Debbie Leadbeater, conceded the defendant should have notified Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).
She added Leon is repaying the money and no longer claims benefits.
Magistrates said the offences were aggravated because they were carried out between 2006 and 2011. They sentenced Leon to a 12-month community order with the unpaid work and ordered her to pay £354 costs and a £15 surcharge.