Woman, 28, will repay £20,000 benefits over 20 years

News from the courts

News from the courts

A Ramsey woman has admitted benefit fraud totalling more than £20,000, which will take her 20 years to repay.

Sharon Louise Thomas, of Walpole Drive, was sentenced to 16 weeks’ custody, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to eight counts of making false representation to obtain a benefit.

The court heard that 28-year-old Thomas had been claiming Job Seekers Allowance since 2006.

In 2013 she was said to have started claiming incapacity benefit and income support.

However, she failed to declare that she had been working at Mamma Mia’s restaurant in Ramsey from November 2012 to July 2013.

Thomas had also been working at Gophers Coffee Shop in Ramsey from March 2013 to August 2013 and Kirk Michael chippy from September 2013 to October 2015.

She said that she had struggled to understand the forms about declaring work and didn’t want to ask for help because she felt stupid.

Thomas said that she had started to get in arrears with her rent, for which she claimed Ramsey commissioners were taking her to court over.

The overall payment of benefits received by Thomas was calculated as £20,371.35.

Defending Thomas in court, advocate Paul Rodgers said that his client had been suffering from depression and had she gone about matters in the right way may have qualified for more benefits.

Mr Rodgers said that there were a number of personal matters which he would not go into in a public court.

The advocate said: ‘She stopped doing this well before the authorities caught up with her. At the rate agreed with the department it will take 20 years to repay the overpayment. This matter will constantly be hanging over her head.

‘She wasn’t living a life of luxury. She lived in council accommodation and was evicted from Ramsey commissioners’ property. She has had depression for a long time and this matter made it worse once she admitted it.’

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