Fraud mum walks free after con

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A MUM who was paid £30,000 in benefits while failing to declare she had access to her enstranged husband’s bank account has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Elizabeth Abidi still had a joint account with her husband, who made “significant deposits” while he was employed as an officer in the Merchant Navy.

But, Newcastle Crown Court heard, at the same time she was being paid income support, housing benefit and council tax beneift on the basis she did not have access to any other cash.

Abidi admitted benefit fraud between 2004 and 2007 on the basis she and her husband were estranged but she had failed to declare material facts.

Mr Recorder Woolfall sentenced the 37-year-old, of Hampstead Road, Sunderland, to 20 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months with supervision.

The judge said: “It is a significant sum from the public purse, committed over a number of years.”