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Benefit cheats sentenced by judge

Date: 13/03/2008           Category: Finance

A mother and daughter who falsely claimed nearly £28,000 in benefits have been sentenced by a judge. Barbara Jordan, 79, and her daughter Sally Jordan, 47, both of Lonsdale Drive, Rainham, had both pleaded guilty during a previous hearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court on 21 January, 2008. Yesterday, Wednesday, 12 March, the Honourable Judge Timothy Pontius ordered them both to pay money during a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court. Barbara admitted to falsely claiming £27,859.04 in housing benefits while living at Ploughmans Way in Rainham, from 2000 to 2006, which she failed to declare was owned by her daughter Sally. She was charged with making a false representation, to obtain benefits, and also admitted supplying false tenancy agreements and a letter from a fictitious landlady to support her claim. Her daughter Sally was also charged with the same offences. During an interview with the council’s investigations officers Barbara admitted to giving false information because she did not believe she would be eligible if she rented from her daughter. The benefits had been paid to Barbara, which she then transferred to Sally to pay the mortgage at Ploughmans Way. The judge took into account that Barbara is 79, and Sally was willing to repay what she could. Barbara was ordered to do 80 hours community service during the next 12 months. She was also ordered to pay £900 compensation by 11 April, 2008, while continuing to repay the balance of her overpayment by regular installments. Sally Jordan, who lives and works in Germany, was ordered to pay £10,000 to Medway Council by 11 April, 2008. She was also given an eight months’ prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to everyone that Medway Council will not tolerate benefit fraud of any kind. “It is completely unacceptable and we won't hesitate to investigate, track down and prosecute those who cheat the system. “I would like to pay tribute to the council’s investigation and legal teams who works tirelessly to make sure benefits go to the people who really need it.” Since April 1, 2007 Medway Council has caught 90 offenders who have falsely claimed more than £400,000 in benefits. During the last year 41 were prosecuted for benefit fraud, 46 were formally cautioned and three received administrative penalties. Typical sentences include community punishment orders, but five people were jailed for benefit fraud last year.