Chatteris woman who pocketed �9,000 in fraudulent benefit claims spared jail

A CHATTERIS woman who pocketed around �9,000 in false benefit claims during a 10-year fraud was spared jail today.

Julie Shaw, 39, claimed that she did not live with her husband, Stephen, and used her maiden name, Dennis, on claim forms.

She saved more than �5,000 in Council Tax and gained more than �3,000 in Jobseeker’s Allowance, Fenland magistrates heard.

The mother of four, who married Stephen in 1997, admitted 14 charges - some stretching back to 2000 - of failure to notify a change of circumstances.

In a January hearing, chairman of the bench Peter Waterfield told her she had “effectively robbed from the public purse”.

But magistrates today decided to spare Shaw prison, suspending a two month custodial sentence for a year. She was also given 150 hours of community work and a 12 month supervision order.

Fenland magistrates heard that Shaw had notified the council that her husband had left their Chatteris home in January 2000. But when Mr Shaw started a new job in 2009 he said his home was the same address.

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The couple had broken up and got back together on a number of occasions but Ian Graham, mitigating, today told magistrates that the relationship was now stable.

Mr Graham said: “Mrs Shaw has come to court extraordinarily worried that she was going to receive a prison sentence.

“Her crime was to make provision for herself and her children as a consequence of the on-off relationship with her husband which is now resolved.”

The court heard that Shaw, of Huntingdon Road, Chatteris, had started re-paying the money and had paid off more than �1,000 of the Council Tax claims.

Mr Graham said: “There’s some good faith already being shown which is to her credit.”

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