Woman guilty of £6,800 benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 17:04 24 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:32 04 May 2010

BENEFIT fraudster, Sarah Kendall stole more than £6,800 from the Government but avoided a prison sentence on Tuesday. Kendall, of Foxwood South, Soham, was overpaid around £5,000 Housing Benefit and £1,839.70 Council Tax Benefit. She claimed the money bet

BENEFIT fraudster, Sarah Kendall stole more than £6,800 from the Government but avoided a prison sentence on Tuesday.

Kendall, of Foxwood South, Soham, was overpaid around £5,000 Housing Benefit and £1,839.70 Council Tax Benefit.

She claimed the money between May 27, 2004 and February 21, 2007.

Kendall, who has a previous conviction for benefit fraud from November 2005, pleaded guilty of failing to notify East Cambridgeshire District Council that she was not a full-time resident of 26 Foxwood South, Soham during the period.

Prosecuting Alison Collier said: "An enquiry in November last year showed that Ms Kendall had been living in Bury St Edmunds and she had not lived at the claimed address since May 2004. She allowed various adults to live there and had not notified the district council of these changes. None of the money fraudulently claimed has been paid back."

Mitigating Michael Judkins said: "Ms Kendall was in a relationship with a man in Bury St Edmunds. She spent about two thirds of her time sharing the accommodation in Soham and one third with her partner.

"Ms Kendall has been claiming benefits for a long time because of mental health problems and she has suffered a number of abusive relationships with men. She failed to tell the council what was going on because it all slipped by her. She is very ashamed and sorry for what she has done."

Presiding magistrate Hamish Ross said: "We view these actions as severe and serious. The offence took place over a long period of time and there is a previous conviction, but we take into account the guilty plea."

Kendall was ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work and to pay £450 costs.

The maximum penalty for this crime is six months imprisonment.

The overpayments will be recovered from future benefits owed to Kendall.

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