Benefit cheat aims to work until 80 to pay back nearly £35,000

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A 72-year-old welfare fraudster has been spared from a jail sentence after she illegally claimed over £34,000 in benefits and Pension Credit.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Tuesday, May 10, how Joyce Fells, of Foljambe Road, Brimington, Chesterfield, failed to declare that she was working as a full-time mental health worker while she was claiming the welfare cash.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “Fells was claiming Pension Credit, and housing and council tax benefit between 2006, and 2012 and she was overpaid £34,843.74p.

“She had been in receipt of Pension Credit on the grounds she was not working and had no income.

“Benefits had been paid into her bank accounts and she failed to declare a change of circumstances in that she was working.”

Fells stated she had been working during her illegal benefit claims and she did not know earnings would affect her Pension Credit and that she was really sorry.

She pleaded guilty to failing to notify Chesterfield Borough Council of a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to housing and council tax benefit between August, 2006, and October, 2012.

Fells also admitted failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to Pension Credit between July, 2006, and December, 2012.

Magistrates highlighted that Fells had taken the money from tax payers but felt they could justify givng her a suspended prison sentence because she intended to work until she is 80-years-old to pay the money back.

Fells was sentenced to 12 months of custody suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to pay £85 costs and and an £80 victim surcharge.