Suspended jail sentence for benefits fraudster
A benefits fraudster has received a suspended jail sentence after she admitted falsely claiming more than £38,000 in benefits.
Leanne Allisa McLardie, aged 30, of Braid Close, Penwortham, pleaded guilty to three offences when she appeared at Preston Crown Court on 7 December.
She admitted claiming £3,566 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from South Ribble Borough Council; £20,035 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from Preston City Council; and £15,061 in Income Support Benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions that she was not entitled to.
The defendant was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 100 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month supervision order. She was also ordered to repay the money she stole.
The prosecution was brought jointly by the Department for Work and Pensions and South Ribble Borough Council.
Councillor Phil Hamman, South Ribble Borough Council cabinet member with responsibility for shared services and corporate support, said:"We treat benefit fraud very seriously and this prosecution should serve as a warning that we will go above and beyond to protect the public purse, including working closely with other local authorities and government departments to bring fraudsters to justice. We will chase every last penny falsely claimed as that is money that could be spent on services for our law-abiding residents.
"We're also keen to ensure that everyone who is rightfully entitled to benefits knows how to claim them. If you think you may be eligible to receive housing benefit or council tax benefit, you should call us for advice."
Call the council's free fraud hotline on: 0800 056 56 03. This service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alternatively you can speak to one of our investigation officers on 01772 625254 between 9am and 5pm, from Monday to Friday. All calls are treated in strict confidence.
People who think they may be eligible to receive housing benefit or council tax benefit can call 01772 625518.
Last updated: 15 April 2013