Ilfracombe woman pleads guilty to £20k benefit fraud
A woman from Ilfracombe has pleaded guilty to more than £20,000 worth of benefit fraud.
Amanda Jane Small, 25, of Flat 5, Holly house, Avenue Road in Ilfracombe appeared at North Devon Magistrates Court on Monday.
Small was charged with falsely making a statement to obtain benefits, namely that she failed to declare she was maintaining a common household with Lee Cox.
She was also charged with dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for herself between March 3, 2010 and May 1, 2012. The charge stated that Small failed to disclose that she was maintaining a common household with Lee Cox and by failing to do so made a gain for yourself from income support.
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Initially Small pleaded not guilty to the charges when she first appeared in court in October. However, in court today she changed her plea to guilty.
A North Devon Council spokesman said: "She has a very large overpayment of £6,222.29 in income support, £12,337.57 of housing benefit and £1,509.09 of council tax benefit. This is a total loss of £20,068.95 in public funds.
"At court today she arrived unrepresented and asked a duty solicitor to assist her but as he was not allowed to represent her at trial and she was not entitled to legal aid she discussed the matter with him and changed her plea to guilty but would only plead from July 15, 2010 instead of March 10, 2010.
"The CPS accepted this and it reduced the overpayment to just over £17,000, though this is just for sentencing purposes and she will still be required to repay the whole £20,068.95.
"This is a large sum of money and a serious offence as it has been over a long period."
The court adjourned the sentencing until February 12 and ask for the probation service to carry out a full report.