Woman who claimed £17k in benefit fraud is jailed

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A 49-YEAR-OLD woman who claimed she couldn’t walk but was working as a security guard has been jailed for benefit fraud.

Dawn Jukes, of Croxden Way, was in receipt of income support, housing and council tax benefit based on the fact she was virtually unable to walk.

She failed to notify Eastbourne Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that she had been working as a security guard since August 2007, earning as much as £240 a day.

Dukes received a total of £17,016.42 in benefits between August 2007 and September 2010, which she wasn’t entitled to, and will have to pay the amount back in full.

She pleaded guilty to failing to notify Eastbourne Borough Council and the DWP of a change in circumstance that affected her right to benefit.

The court heard Dukes had continued to claim her benefits knowing she wouldn’t be entitled to them because of her work as a security guard.

She also gave a statement to the Department for Work and Pensions during this period claiming she hadn’t worked for a long time.

Last week, she was sentenced at Eastbourne Magistrates Court to an eight-week custodial sentence.

The chair of the magistrates bench said, “This offence is so serious and has caused a large amount of overpaid benefit over a long period of time, which was motivated purely by greed.

“You have offered no mitigating circumstances leaving me no option but to give you a custodial sentence of eight weeks.”

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “This type of fraud will not be tolerated and should not be seen as a way out of financial difficulty.

“We are actively pursuing fraudulent claims because fraud affects everyone within this borough and if caught we will seek to prosecute.

“We ask that every person who is claiming benefits tells the benefits office of any changes that may affect their benefit as soon as the change happens.”

If you suspect that someone is claiming benefits that they should not be entitled to, call the benefit fraud hotline on 0800 7317039.

Visit www.eastbourne.gov.uk/benefit-fraud for more details.