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Former Bushey resident claimed more than £30,000 in benefits
A former Bushey resident has been given a suspended jail sentence after falsely claiming benefits totalling more than £30,000.
Amanda Noonan, formerly of Bushey Hall Road, appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday).
The 45-year-old was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, for fraudulently claiming housing and council tax benefit which resulted in her receiving £33,657 she was not entitled to.
Noonan, now of Coopers Court, Shefford, Bedfordshire, had entered a guilty plea at an earlier hearing.
The court heard that Noonan began claiming housing and council tax benefit after moving to Bushey in 2007.
She declared that she was only working 20 hours per week and earning £566 per month.
In support of the information on her application form, Noonan supplied payslips and bank statements confirming her circumstances.
Her claim was subsequently reviewed in 2008 and 2010 with further declarations being made that she was working 20 hours per week.
Payslips and bank statements were again provided reflecting her declared earnings.
However, in 2012 Noonan’s claim was reviewed by Hertsmere Borough Council’s Anti-Fraud Unit which identified a discrepancy between her declared income and that held by the Tax Credit Office.
In February 2012 she was interviewed under caution and acknowledged that there had been a change in circumstances in August 2011 when her earnings increased.
Following this interview the council continued their investigation and it was discovered that the earnings information provided by Noonan since 2007 was actually false, along with the documentation that she had supplied as evidence of her income.
This led to a further interview in July 2012 when she admitted that false details and documents had been provided to the council.
Noonan pleaded guilty to ten charges under Section 111A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 at a hearing at Watford Magistrates Court on October 8.
The charges related to dishonestly making false representations in regard to her income and furnishing false documentation.
In mitigation, the court heard that Noonan felt shame and remorse for what she had done and noted that she had started to make repayments to the council with more than £4,500 now having been repaid.
Details were also provided of her previous financial problems that had resulted in her bankruptcy and a long standing medical condition.
In sentencing Noonan, magistrates described it as a planned fraud occurring over a significant period, but in deciding on the sentence they took into account her illness, the repayments, and her early guilty plea.
Noonan will be required to comply with a supervision order with the Probation Service.
Hertsmere Borough Council was awarded a contribution towards its costs of £150, with the remaining outstanding overpayment to continue to be repaid in instalments.