Chippenham benefit cheat in dog charity lie
Benefits cheat Georgina Bennett told investigators a shaggy dog story when she claimed £30,000 of payments into her account were donations to a canine charity.
But Bennett, 42, of Market Place, Chippenham, had to admit that the money was really benefits being paid to her from her time in the Channel Islands.
When investigators put it to Bennett that GSSA on her bank statements stood for Guernsey Social Security Authority she admitted the truth. Now after hearing she was type one diabetic and was in need of a pancreas transplant a judge decided not to send her to jail.
Marcus Davey, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that Bennett came to the mainland for treatment for her ailments in 2007.
At the time she was claiming the equivalent of incapacity benefit in Guernsey and kept receiving the money. But she made a claim for income support as well as housing and council tax benefits at her new home.
Bennett pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.
Mike Pulsford, defending, said as well as having to inject herself a number of times a day because of her diabetes she also had a serious pancreatic disorder.
He said it meant she was on the list for a transplant and could get a call requiring her to be ready for surgery with just six hours’ notice.
“She is petrified were she to be sent to prison today the prison service, with the best will in the world, would not be able to organise a response to an organ being available in that short order,” he said.
Mr Pulsford said she now runs a Rottweiler rehoming charity.
Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “This was long term dishonesty on your part on a significant scale. It is said there was no rational explanation for it. I don’t agree with that, I take the view you had in mind your own personal financial gain.
He imposed an eight-month jail term suspended for two years.