A mother’s shame over benefits con

Crime story
Crime story

A WIGAN mother was distraught and remorseful when she appeared in court charged with stealing more than £11,000 of benefits under false pretences.

Samantha Lomax, of Calder Place, Norley Hall, admitted dishonesty for failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances - namely that she was living with partner Brett Sharpe - when she appeared at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, said that the 24-year-old had been given £11,481 in income and council tax and housing allowance, between January 2012 and July 2013, as she claimed she was living alone with her two young children, when Mr Sharpe was also residing there.

He said: “She claims that she was a single parent with two children but the reality is different.

“Mr Sharpe is the father of her children and her relationship is not ad hoc - he resides there most of the time.

“But she is a lady of no previous conviction and hopefully she appears before court for the first and last time.

“She made full admission in interview. The three benefits go hand in hand - there was no big scam to claim different benefits.”

Kenny Ip, defending, said that Lomax insisted that she had an on-off relationship with Mr Sharpe and he did not always live there, so she did not feel the need to inform HMRC of the co-habitation.

But when she was investigated, she started repaying back the money.

Mr Ip said: “She accepts the offence but at the time they were not in a stable relationship. He was never at home, as he had drinking issues and she was the one looking after the children,

“She is remorseful and has shown that by making repayments. She was not trying to get out of it.

“She has not spent the money on anything other than running the house.”

Lomax was given a 12 month community order, with 200 hours unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs,