Benefit cheat narrowly avoids jail

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A city woman who claimed a whole array of benefits, despite inheriting £100,000 in 2007, which she held in undisclosed bank accounts, has narrowly escaped jail.

Details of the undisclosed bank accounts came to light following a routine data match carried out jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions.

On Friday 17th February 2012, Milton Keynes magistrates heard how Samantha Mackenzie-Smith claimed just short of £25,000 in benefits, including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance, from April 2008 till June 2011.

Ms Mackenzie-Smith, of Townsend Grove, New Bradwell, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of benefit fraud.

On Friday she received a 12 week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work. The magistrates also ordered that she pay £500 towards the prosecution costs.

She was prosecuted under Section 111a of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (Dishonesty).

Ms Mackenzie-Smith has also had to pay back £24,912.30, which had been wrongly claimed in benefits, including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

A council benefits fraud spokesman said: “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this case, which sends a clear message that if you are involved in fraudulent benefit claims, we will catch you.”