Elsenham beautician spared jail after fraud

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- Credit: Archant

An Elsenham beautician who fraudulently claimed nearly £20,000 in benefits has been spared jail.

Deborah Sepulveda, 54, had around £20,000 in savings left to her by her husband who died of throat cancer, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard.

Instead of jail Sepulveda, of Rush Lane, was made subject of a 12-month community order under which she was ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and to pay £120 costs and £60 victim surcharge by magistrates.

She pleaded guilty to offences between September 10, 2012 and June 25, 2014 of making a false statement to obtain income support, causing a false document to be provided and two offences of failing to notify of a change of circumstances.

The court was told she has made repayments of around £10,000.

Grace Court, prosecuting, said the overpayment was about £19,000 although £21,000 had been claimed.

Alan Caldwell, mitigating, said the self-employed beautician lost her husband in August 2011 after he suffered throat cancer.

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He continued: “There was no will but he had indicated he wished to set aside £20,000 between her and another family member.

“She was also providing care for her mother and claiming benefit, she closed her mind to the £20,000 and the longer it went on the more difficult it was to get to grip with matters.

“She has been living with the uncertainty for a year and repaid more than £200 a month showing her remorse along with the guilty pleas.”

She was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (September 21).