Fenland woman pocketed around �9k by claiming she didn’t live with her husband

A WOMAN who pocketed around �9,000 in benefits by claiming she didn’t live with her husband was told by magistrates that she had effectively robbed from the public purse.

Julie Shaw, of Huntingdon Road, Chatteris, was caught out after Fenland District Council was alerted to a “number of discrepancies” in her claim forms, Hannah Edwards, prosecuting, told magistrates.

The mother of four – who married Stephen Shaw in 1997 – pleaded guilty to 14 counts of failure to notify a change of circumstances at Wisbech Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Peter Waterfield, chairman of the bench, said: “It is a significant amount of money you have gained and there is a possibility of custody.

“You were fraudulent from the outset, over a long period of time, and you intentionally lied under caution.

“You have effectively robbed from the public purse for around 10 years.”

Shaw saved over �5,000 in Council Tax and gained more than �3,000 in Jobseeker’s Allowance as a result of stating she lived alone.

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Miss Edwards told the court that Shaw, 39, had notified FDC that her husband had left the property in January 2000.

However, when Mr Shaw started a new job in 2005 he stated his home address as the same house in Huntingdon Road.

When Shaw was first investigated by FDC in 2009, Miss Edwards said that Shaw stated her husband “sometimes stayed at the property for three or four nights a week”.

The council also provided evidence to Shaw to suggest the pair had been associated financially between 2003-2005. When Shaw was then show her marriage certificate during the council’s investigations the court heard that the 39-year-old “simply shrugged her shoulders”.

Miss Edwards said that on a number of occasions Shaw has used her maiden name Dennis on other claim forms.

Magistrates heard that the couple had broken-up and got back together on a number of occasions.

George Sorrell, mitigating, said Shaw had already repaid over �1,000 of the Council Tax deficit.

Mr Sorrell said: “She is now living with her husband full-time, as a husband and wife at home, and efforts have been made to start re-paying the money.”

“Taking into account her previous good character can I just also tell you that there are health issues. She has a spinal problem and has had disability living allowance.

Shaw was granted unconditional bail while a pre-sentence report is prepared by probation officers.

She will return to the court on February 11.

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