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East Lancs benefit cheat in Tunisia
4:10pm Thursday 17th April 2014 in News
A COLNE mum-of-one benefits cheat had gone to live in Tunisia, a court heard.
Stephanie Ainsworth, 31, was alleged by the prosecution to have left England for eight months.
Prosecutor Andrew Robinson said money had been taken out from banks in Tunisia during that time, and no withdrawals were made from any banks in the UK. Ainsworth claimed she had been away for no more than 12 weeks, and that her mother had used her only bank card in Tunisia after Ainsworth returned to the UK, Burnley magistrates were told.
Ainsworth, of New Bath Street, admitted one count of failing to notify a change in circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions, and two similar allegations, involving housing and council tax benefits. The offences were said to have taken place between October 2012 and May 2013.
She was put on a three- month curfew, seven days a week, between 8pm and 7am, and must pay a £60 victim sur-charge and £40 costs.
Mr Robinson said Ainsw-orth made a claim for employment and support allow- ance, and her claim was not a fraud at the outset.
She was overpaid £6,323. Keith Rennison, defending, said Ainsworth claimed ESA as she suffered from paranoid psychosis and was on medication. She thought she was allowed to leave the country for up to 12 weeks. She is repaying from her ben- efits and still receives ESA.
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