Benefit cheat mother avoids prison

A MOTHER of two who fraudulently claimed tax credits for fictitious children has been spared an immediate jail term.

Lisa Jensen collected nearly �30,000 in overpayments by adding foster children and childcare costs to her tax credit claim.

The 40-year-old was caught up with following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Fraud investigators said Jensen first sent claims for tax credits and child care to HMRC in November 2005.

Over the following months she called the helpline numerous times to increase her claims, each time adding children and childcare costs.

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An HRMC spokesman said she falsely claimed to be a registered foster carer in order to explain the changes in her claim.

Jensen, of Domsey Chase, in Feering, Colchester, also named companies in her claim that either did not exist or were completely unconnected with childcare.

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Criminal investigators calculated that she made a total of �28,815 in false claims.

Bob Gaiger from HMRC said: “The vast majority of tax credit claimants are honest and claim only what they are entitled to.

“But those who think that they can beat the system and gain advantage over everyone else without consideration or second thought should be worried.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute those who flout the law.”

Jensen, who pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud, was sentenced to an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for each of the charges when she appeared at Ipswich Crown Court last Friday for sentencing.

Each sentence will run concurrently and she will be electronically tagged for three months and subject to an overnight curfew between 8pm and 6am.

Recorder Gerard Pounder also ordered Jensen to pay �500 in court costs within the next four months.

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