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Lowestoft benefit cheat was overpaid £25,000

PUBLISHED: 09:26 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:50 06 July 2010

A BENEFIT cheat who was overpaid more than £25,000 after she failed to mention on claim forms that she was living with her partner has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

A BENEFIT cheat who was overpaid more than £25,000 after she failed to mention on claim forms that she was living with her partner has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

Pauline McRoberts, 51, dishonestly claimed Jobseekers Allowance, income support and housing and council tax benefit over a total period of three-and-a-half years, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

McRoberts, of Stanley Road, Lowestoft, admitted six offences of benefit fraud and was given a 24-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Sentencing her, Recorder Richard Atchley described the offences as “persistent and long running” frauds on the benefit system.

“Twenty-five thousands pounds is a lot of other people's money,” he added.

Simon Gladwell, prosecuting said two of McRoberts' claims were genuine at the outset but two others had been fraudulent from the beginning.

The court heard that McRoberts had no previous convictions and had repaid £210 of the money.

Jamie Sawyer, for McRoberts, said his client was a family woman who did her best to lead a law-abiding life.

He said her partner had initially spent the occasional night with her and had then spent more and more time with her until they ended up co-habiting.

Mr Sawyer said McRoberts had now had all her benefits withdrawn and she was being supported by her partner.

“She is very remorseful,” Mr Sawyer said.

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