Benefits fraudster caught out over pension '“ after partner dropped her in it

A fraudster's web of lies were unravelled thanks to her partner after she falsely claimed thousands of pounds worth of benefits.

Saturday, 16th January 2016, 1:54 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th January 2016, 1:59 pm

Lynn Loftus claimed Jobseekers Allowance over a period of three years but kept silent over a pension pot belonging to her other half.

The 46-year-old denied knowledge of the Mine Workers pension when an investigation was launched by the Department of Work and Pensions, only for partner James Hilton to reveal she knew all about the extra income.

She was overpaid benefits to the tune of over £5,000.

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Loftus still denied four charges of fraud when she appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last September, but was convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation in her absence after failing to turn up for her trial date on Wednesday.

She was arrested for failing to appear on her trial date and brought before the court to be sentenced by magistrates yesterday.

Loftus, of Arnold Street, Boldon Colliery, made incorrect claims for Jobseekers Allowance in 2009, 2010 and again in 2012, each time failing to notify the DWP about Mr Hilton’s pension.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said; “Over a period of time she made claims for various benefits on the basis that neither she or her partner, James Hilton were working or had any other income.

“Investigations found her partner had a Mine Workers pension.

“She was interviewed and said she was unaware of this income but when he was interviewed he said she was aware of the pension and was the one in the couple who sorted out the benefits.

“She accepted this when it was put to her.

“The total amount she was overpaid was over £5,500.

“She was entitled to some backdated money of about £1,000, which has been taken off the total she owed.”

Mr Anderson said magistrates had to consider additional costs for the court making preparations for a trial which ultimately never went ahead.

Christopher Brown, defending, said: “Her partner was receiving a £105 monthly income from the pension.

“This would have reduced the amount of benefits that she was entitled to.

“All in all, with the backdated money taken into account, the Department for Work and Pensions is now owed about £3,000.

“This will being paid back reasonably soon.

“She is embarrassed to be appearing before the court.

“She is ashamed that this situation has occurred.”

Mr Brown said that Loftus’ spare income is all going towards paying back the debt she owes to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Loftus was given a two-year conditional discharge by magistrates.

She was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.