Benefit cheat who fraudulently claimed £28,000 walks free from court

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A BENEFIT cheat who was paid almost £28,000 of taxpayers cash she was not entitled to has walked free from court.

Sharon Hagan claimed Government handouts because her partner, who was working, was not supporting her, it is claimed.

The 44-year-old said making false claims for benefits was the only way to support herself and her two teenage children.

At Newcastle Crown Court Hagan, of, Cherwell, Washington, admitted benefit fraud charges dating between 2008 and 2012.

Prosecutor Vince Ward told the court: “She received £27,972 that she was not entitled to.

“She was not entitled to it because her partner was living with her and he was working.” The court heard Hagan now has a part-time shop job and is making small repayments.

Judge John Evans sentenced Hagan to nine months behind bars, suspended for two years, with supervision and 150 hours’ unpaid work.

The judge told her: “The money you obtained will take a very, very long time to claw back and probably will never be repaid.”

Judge Evans said Hagan’s family responsibilities and lack of criminal convictions meant the sentence could be suspended.

He added: “There is no suggestion here of you and your family enjoying an advanced quality of life as a result of this.”

Glen Gatland, defending, said Hagan’s partner was not the father of her children and would, therefore, not support them with the earnings he got from his supermarket job.

Mr Gatland said: “He was technically living at home, but he was not supporting the family.

“She had to keep a roof over her head but had no support for her children.

“The only way she could manage to make ends meet was making claims from the DWP and council.

“There is no suggestion of foreign holidays or plasma television sets, nothing of that nature whatsoever.”