Former pub landlord in court after £8k benefit fraud
A FORMER pub landlady who admitted defrauding taxpayers of more than £8,000 in benefits has been handed a community order.
Alison Moult, of St Luke’s Court, Perry Close, Hanley, admitted five allegations of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions when she got a job.
The 51-year-old had taken over as the manager of the Portland Inn pub in Cobridge in September 2008 but continued to claim housing and council tax benefit, jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit.
Zulficar Ali, prosecuting, for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said the authority received an anonymous tip-off that she was not declaring her employment.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat.
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
Speaking before magistrates in Fenton yesterday he said: “She had made a tenancy agreement with the pub owner which shows she was running the pub and was the designated premise licence holder.
“She was invited to two investigation interviews and she confirmed she was receiving benefits but initially denied she was working. Later she admitted she was doing 20 hours a week, but she had not expected the job to go on for so long.
“She agreed her actions were dishonest.”
Moult has no previous convictions. The total amount of money she dishonestly claimed was £8,398.52 over a year.
Mark Bromley, defending, told the magistrates his client has a lifetime of experience in the pub trade.
He said: “You are dealing with a 51-year-old who has worked all of her life.
“She was the manageress of the Tontine in Hanley for five years but that came to an end about three years ago when the premises changed hands.
“Unable to find work straight away, she registered for benefits and gave her name to a holding company which finds possible jobs for people in that trade.
“She was approached by the Portland Inn and invited to trade there.
“It was undergoing renovation and the owner was desperate to sell and thought it would be more attractive to buyers if it was a going concern.
“Trade never really got of the ground and my client quickly realised she was never going to make a living from it and handed in her notice.
“She was frank she said she should have notified the various departments.”
The court heard Moult hasn’t worked since her time at the Portland Inn and she is now legitimately on benefits.
She has started paying back the money she owes and after paying her bills and debts she has £10 a fortnight for spending money.
Magistrates handed her a 12 month community order with supervision and she must pay £100 towards court costs.
Chairman of the bench Sue Allcock said: “These are really serious offences, we hope we don’t see you again.”