Westward Ho! woman pleads guilty to £9k fraud

17:31 22 August 2014

North Devon Magistrates

North Devon Magistrates' Court.

Archant

The 51-year-old admitted falsely claimed more than £9,000 by failing to declare she owned a house.

A Westward Ho! woman falsely claimed more than £9,000 in benefits after failing to declare she owned a house in London, a court heard.

Sarah Cross, 51, of Cleveland Terrace, pleaded guilty to claiming £2,960 in jobseeker’s allowance and £6,381 in housing benefit.

The court heard she ‘made a mistake’ by not notifying the council and department for work and pensions that she and her then-estranged husband owned a house in which her son was living.

Zara Svenson, defending, said: “She is an honest person who did a dishonest thing by ticking the wrong box and she was not comfortable with it.”

When Cross sold the house she informed the department for work and pensions (DWP) and it was through this action that the overpayment was discovered.

She has since paid the full amount back to both the DWP and Torridge District Council, the court heard.

Magistrates ordered Cross, who volunteers with the charity RISE and runs her own yoga business, to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

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