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Benefits cheat, 23, dodges jail term

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

Comments (6)

A 23-YEAR-OLD mother has escaped an immediate prison sentence after she admitted fraudulently claiming more than £21,000 of benefits.

Elizabeth Boam, of Shobnall Street, Burton, illegally claimed housing benefits, council tax benefits and income support for more than two years after failing to notify authorities that she was living with her previously estranged husband.

Boam, a mother-of-two, admitted knowingly deceiving East Staffordshire Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Burton Magistrates’ Court heard that the defendant began claiming the benefits in April 2008, when she stated she was a single parent with another child due in four months.

Boam declared in official documents she had separated from her husband Jamie Mahmood and had no other means of support.

Declarations were signed for both the council and the Department for Work and Pensions, and payments were calculated and authorised.

Moira Bell, prosecuting, said: “There is a legal requirement to notify the authorities if there are any changes to personal circumstances, but information was received that Boam was living with Jamie after a brief separation.”

Mrs Bell told the court that Boam was interviewed under caution and was shown documentary evidence that linked Mr Mahmood to her address.

Boam said in a subsequent interview that she had an unstable relationship but had been living with her husband ‘on and off’.

She said he did not contribute to any living costs other than their Sky bill so she carried on claiming as a source of income.

The defendant fraudulently claimed income support between December 2008 and August 2011, and housing and council tax benefit between December 2008 and August 2011— resulting in a total overpayment of £21,737.

Simon Dean, defending, told the court that Boam had already been making repayments for a year.

He said: “This is a young lady who has been very open with me and the authorities, and she has had to endure the most awful domestic abuse from her partner who has now left.”

Mr Dean said that his client did not blame her husband, but it was bound to have an impact on her.

He told the court that she did not have any relevant previous convictions and was trying to do something positive in her life — but added that she was still in receipt of benefits.

Magistrates had asked for an ‘all options’ pre-sentence report, including the possibility of a custodial penalty, to be prepared for the hearing yesterday.

Boam was sentenced to a four-month prison term, suspended for 18 months.

She was also given a 12-month supervision order and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs of £85.

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  • Burton Mail  |  November 19 2012, 4:52PM

    Makes you laff how people can judge when these people prob had everything handed on a plate to them that problem with Britain to quick to judge but if some judges them they the 1st to cry and it's these people that are the dodgy ones behind closed doors Nuff said

  • Burton Mail  |  November 15 2012, 11:39AM

    'dodges jail'...dodges punishment completely more like!!! 100 hours community service and £85 fine BIG DEAL. It's because of pathetic 'punishments' like this why everybody is scamming the social. MAKES ME SICK. First thing tomorrow I'm going to FALSELY claim social for as long as I can, rob 22k+ and wait for my £85 fine LMFAO that judge wants locking up

  • Burton Mail  |  November 14 2012, 6:01PM

    Give that the illustrious Margaret Moran escaped prison after shafting the taxpayer for over twice that amount I should jolly well thing that the hapless Ms Boam has stayed out of Prison ... After all Sauce for the Goose is sauce for the Gander ... or s there a different law for the political elite. At least Ms Boam is paying it back.

  • Burton Mail  |  November 14 2012, 1:06PM

    How many Investigators does the Council and DWP employ in Burton and at what cost? The cost must be horrendous compared with the actual money they get back at probably £5 a week!

  • Burton Mail  |  November 14 2012, 12:59PM

    A suspended prison sentence and 100 hrs work? Seems worth taking the chance as most people wouldn't be found out!

  • Burton Mail  |  November 14 2012, 10:41AM

    Yet again, another guilty criminal get off easy! The "Justice System" is useless!