East Boldon mum admits to illegal £18,000 benefit claim over five years

A South Tyneside mum milked over £18,000 in benefits to care for her disabled son during a five-year fraud.

Victoria Moore, 37, of St Marys Terrace, East Boldon, claimed the cash while also being paid for work at her husband’s fireplace business.

Her benefits claim was legitimate, but her employment wages tipped her over the legal level for Carers Allowance support, a court heard.

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It meant she was handed £18,404 she was not entitled to between May 12, 2014 and December 15, 2019.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Moore has been warned she could be jailed for a crime her solicitor claimed had been committed in error rather than as a deliberate scam.

She admitted a charge of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security.

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Prosecutor Grace Taylor told magistrates in South Tyneside the starting point for the offence was a 36-week jail term.

Ms Taylor added: “The defendant has claimed Carers Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions because she cares for her disabled son.

“She was also in remunerated employment which was lawful but became unlawful when she failed to notify about a change in circumstances and was earning in excess of the allowance.

“This resulted in an overpayment of £18,404.”

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Sophie Allinson, defending, said: “This is a lady with no previous convictions.

“This has been quite a sad case and she is absolutely mortified to find herself in this position. Her son has cerebral palsy, and hers is a legitimate claim.

“However, during the claim she began remunerated employment at her husband’s company, which was odd jobs and administrative work.

“It was about £150-a-week, which tipped her over the cap by about £20. She thought that she was well clear of the cap and didn’t need to notify.

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“She has made significant attempts to repay, and it is being repaid at £200 a month.”

Magistrates in South Tyneside said Moore had to be sentenced at the crown court due to a proceeds of crime application being in place to reclaim the money.

She was granted unconditional bail by the court to be sentenced on Friday, February 19.

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