Judge tells benefits cheat 'there is always that phone call that comes'

Judge tells benefits cheat 'there is always that phone call that comes'

A JUDGE told a woman sentenced for benefits fraud that there is 'always that phone call that comes'.

Deputy District Judge Des Perry was speaking at Newtownards Magistrates' Court (main picture) to Brenda Louise Gordon (48), of Killynure Road in Carryduff.

She was sentenced in relation to three charges of failing to declare a change of circumstances and one charge of making a false declaration with a view to obtaining benefits. The charges relate to the period from July 2016 to April, 2018.

It involved Income Support, Housing Benefit and Carer's Allowance and, according to the charge sheet, the defendant failed to notify the Social Security Agency of 'employment' with a medical group, a taxi firm and an indoor bowls club.

The court heard the amount of benefits involved several thousand pounds.

A defence lawyer said the defendant realised she should have "had more sense".

He said the defendant is working and is paying back the money.

Judge Perry told the defendant: "The problem with this type of fraud is there is always that phone call that comes.

"It is a sad situation that you are here before me. You were previously a person of good character. This is a a rather unfortunate blot on that."

In view of her repaying the money he said he was handing down a three year conditional discharge.

He told the defendant: "That means if you stay out of trouble then it is history. Should you re-offend in the next three years then the case could well be re-opened and you can't expect the same degree of leniency.

"I gather you are not presently claiming benefits but if the situation arose within the next three years when you are claiming benefits then you are going to to have to be meticulously careful that you don't fall into a trap of failing to disclose information which you should have".