Ipswich: £56k benefit cheat spared jail

A man is in court charged with fraud

A man is in court charged with fraud - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich benefit cheat who fiddled the taxpayer out of nearly £56,000 has been shown mercy by a judge because she has a very sick child.

Recorder Jonathan Seely told Mwantime Mdami, of Romney Road, she had been spared an immediate jail term “by a whisker” at her Ipswich Crown Court sentencing.

The 40-year-old was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, after previously admitting four charges relating to falsely claimed benefits.

The total overpayment over an eight-year period came to £55,600.

In addition to her suspended sentence Mdami was given a 12-month supervision order, along with a four-month curfew during which she will be electronically tagged.

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Mdami will have to remain at her home between 8pm and 6am during the curfew period.

She must also pay £250 towards prosecution costs.

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During her sentencing Recorder Seely said although in his view the offences had crossed the custody threshold, he would not be sending Mdami to prison as her young child was very sick.

At an earlier hearing Mdami admitted failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change of circumstances when in receipt of income support.

The offence took place between November 14, 2003, and January 6, 2011. Mdami had failed to tell the DWP when making her claim that her partner had moved in with her.

She has also pleaded guilty making a false representation on or about August 10, 2004, relating to an income support claim which stated she did not have a partner living with her.

The two other accusations Mdami admitted related to making a false statement or representation to obtain housing benefit and council tax from Ipswich Borough Council. One of these took place between July 3, 2008, and January 6, 2011. The other was said to have occurred on July 3, 2008.

The prosecution against Mdami, who came to the UK from Burundi, was brought by borough council fraud investigators.

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