£150,000 Hartlepool benefits cheat mum jailed

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THE mother of all benefits cheats who claimed a staggering £150,000 in bogus payments has been jailed.

Mum-of-four Jayne Young, 44, conned the state for over a decade by lying to benefits bosses that she was a single mum.

But her partner, and father of two of her children, Jason Swanson, was living with her and bringing a wage into the home.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the family went on holidays together, including a 10-night stay in Tenerife, during the time Young was claiming she was a single parent.

Young started claiming Income Support legitimately in 1993 after she separated from her previous partner.

But in 2000, evidence came to light that her new partner Mr Swanson was living with her.

It included both their addresses being the same on various types of insurance, a car loan and to buy furniture.

Kieran Rainey, prosecuting, said: “The fraud was carried out over a significant period of time.

“There were numerous instances of forms being completed by her and not declaring that she was living with Mr Swanson.

“The total amount of dishonestly obtained benefit was £150,972.50.

That included £85,565 in Income Support, later replaced with Jobseekers’ Allowance totalling £2,796.

She also claimed £54,980 in housing and council tax benefits between January 2001 and June 2012.

Young continued to deny the fraud when she was quizzed twice by the Department of Work and Pensions.

But she pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to notify officials of a change in her circumstances when the case got to court.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said Young’s claim for Income Support was valid to begin with,

He said: “There are no assets which have been obtained as a consequence of this.

“It wasn’t a case of money being obtained through high living. Some of the money went towards housing costs and some was used to provide for her four children.

“This has been very frightening for her.”

Mr Mullarkey added Young, of Everett Street, Hartlepool, had not told her two youngest children that she was in court yesterday and might not be going home.

“Clearly, she had some difficulty coping with the situation and it seems it was too difficult a conversation to have with the children,” he said.

Young, a kitchen porter of previous good character, is currently paying the £85,565 Income Support money back at a rate of just £40 a week, and has so far cleared £400.

Jailing her for 10 months, Recorder Tim Gittins said: “In reality, you were receiving money in excess of about £200 a week that you shouldn’t have received, moneys that could have been spent elsewhere and gone to rightful claimants.

“The fact is the totals are startling. The totality of the offending means you have taken from the public purse £150,972 that you should not have had and that is something that the courts cannot overlook.”