'Thoroughly dishonest woman's' £80,000 in false claims
A "THOROUGHLY dishonest woman" who falsely claimed more than £80,000 in benefits has been jailed.
Judge Paul Thomas told Karen Marina Davies her actions meant vital funds were missing from the public purse during the seven years she claimed housing and council tax as well income support while she worked.
The judge told her: "It's sometimes considered that benefit fraud is a victimless crime because benefits come from the state or the local authority. The reality is however that it's money that has been obtained from everyone in this room.
"If you had not taken it, it could have been used to fund the salary of more than one nurse, teacher or policeman," he added.
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Swansea Crown Court was told Davies, 48, had worked as an NVQ assessor for a variety of training companies as well as Neath Port Talbot College.
She had admitted four counts of fraudulently claiming benefits totalling £82,914 between 2002 and 2009. She said she was a single mother on a limited income when she made the claim.
Prosecutor Christian Jowett said Davies, of Mile End Close, Fforestfach, was sent annual reminders from 2005 to make sure her registered details were up to date and more than once yearly from 2008.
In September 2007 Swansea Council were told Davies had been claiming benefits while working and suspended her payments. Davies then called the council, telling them it was her daughter who had been working and her benefits were then reinstated.
She was interviewed in November 2009 and admitted she was currently working for a company called Wave Training.
"She said she had no reason for not declaring this," said Mr Jowett.
Davies had seen previous convictions. The most recent was a charge of making off without payment after not paying £177 at the Fairyhill Hotel in Gower.
She was made subject to a suspended sentence for that offence.
There were also four charges relating to dishonest Social Services payments, the first of which dated back to 1990.
In jailing her for three months, the judge told Davies: "You are a thoroughly dishonest woman.
"This is the fourth time you have come before a court in relation to benefit offences."
"You have been someone who is simply dishonest, I have no doubt that you consider, and have considered that your obvious health issues prevent you from some sort of elimination from going to prison and that arrogance is also apparent in your dealings with the probation service," he said.
But he said an immediate prison sentence was "inevitable".
He gave her a three-month jail term for each of the four counts. The sentences will run concurrently.
Swansea's Department of Work and Pension's Fraud Manager Delme Jones said: "People need to understand these are serious offences.
"It's down to the combined investigation of us and the local authority we can prosecute these offences."