No jail term for £82k Chichester benefit cheat

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A BENEFIT cheat who claimed in the region of £80,000 has avoided prison after being sentenced at Chichester Crown Court this morning (January 14).

Mandy Harper, 43, of Pennycord Close, Selsey, pleaded guilty in June to dishonestly failing to notify both Chichester District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that her husband was living with her and his earnings were contributing to the household bills.

She had claimed a number of benefits on the basis she was a lone parent.

In court this morning, she was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She must also carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

The fraud was uncovered because of a joint investigation by the district council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

In June, the district council reported £82,015.75 had been overpaid to Harper from January, 2005, to October, 2010.