Thetford benefit cheat made to repay £10,000

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A Thetford woman falsely claimed almost £10,000 in benefits by lying about her employment and living situation, a court has heard.

Sonia Dixon, 42, concealed the facts she was in paid employment and living a partner to claim housing and council tax benefits from Breckland Council.

Dixon, of Elm Road, appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on Monday after pleading guilty to 
dishonestly claiming £9,671 in benefits between March 2012 and September 2014.

Prosecuting, Lauren Bond said that in March 2012 Dixon had claimed she was the only adult living at her address.

In June 2014 she informed the council via a claims form that she had started a paid job that month.

However her case was 
referred for investigation and it was discovered she had 
actually begun work in August 2012.

Ms Bond said from August 2012 to June 2014, Dixon had in fact had two jobs, both earning around £300 per week.

Investigations also indicated she was living with a partner, who was in full time employment and bringing home between £2,000 and £2,500 per month.

During an interview in September 2014, Dixon admitted she had started full time employment in August 2012 and her partner had been living at the address since January 2012 - predating her claims.

Ms Bond said Dixon was ‘open and honest’ in her interview, and ‘knew what she had done was wrong’.

She said: “These claims continued for a significant period of time and were fraudulent from the outset.”

Ms Bond added Dixon had begun to pay back the falsely claimed benefits in October last year.

On a previous appearance in court on February 12, Dixon said: “I should not ever have done it but under the circumstances I was in a mess.

“I intended to pay back every penny and learn from my mistakes.”

Handing Dixon a 16-week suspended prison sentence, magistrate Jim Spencer said: “You know the seriousness of this offence. We acknowledge that you did plead guilty, to your credit.”

Dixon was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.