A COURT has heard how a benefit fraudster told “fib after fib after fib” as she falsely claimed almost £25,000.
Amanda Leggett’s offending between 2014 and 2018 occurred while she was receiving disability living and employment and support allowance.
Leggett, 49, claimed benefit on the basis she had spondylosis and arthritis, along with depression and anxiety. But she failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement – racking up a £24,975.95 overpayment in the process.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how, for some of the time, Leggett was employed in the care industry. Her duties had been “demanding”, one care home manager reported, and included lifting residents, using a hoist and pushing wheelchairs.
When applying for one job, Leggett filled in a questionnaire stating she didn’t suffer from anxiety or depression, nor did she have spinal problems. “All these were things she was claiming she had,” prosecutor Tim Evans told the court. “She just buried her head in the sand, she said, about failing to notify a change of circumstances.”
Leggett, of St Michael’s Road, Workington, admitted two charges and was sentenced today (MON) by Judge Peter Davies, who concluded she had “told fib after fib after fib”.
“You have stolen almost £25,000. There is no other way of putting it. You are a thief,” Judge Davies told her. “It is intolerable.” He added: “I’m not going to send you to custody. What on earth’s the point of doing that, and spending even more public money?”
A six-month jail term was suspended for two years, and Leggett – a woman of previous good character who, her lawyer said, “accepts her dishonesty” – must complete 100 hours’ unpaid work within 12 months.