Mum of 5 escapes jail term after £115k benefit fraud

Crown Court
Crown Court

A woman who admitted illegally claiming almost £115,000 in benefits over a seven-year period has escaped a jail term.

Carina Gibbs, 41, of Chiltern Road, Dunstable, falsely claimed to be single, when she was in fact living with her partner.

The mother of five was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Thursday to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, will have to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £250 towards the prosecution costs. She will also have to pay back all of the money which she has fraudulently claimed.

Gibbs was charged following a joint investigation between the council’s Revenues and Benefits team and the Department for Work and Pensions.

It revealed that she had been living with her partner since May 2006 and during that period Gibbs claimed £114,882.80 in benefits including housing and council tax benefit.

The court was told that Gibbs is the sole carer to her children, and also heard that she was of previous good character, which were both taken into account during sentencing.

Anyone who suspects that someone may be claiming benefits illegally can call the council’s confidential 24-hour fraud hotline on 0300 300 5577.

Anyone who has any questions about their benefits, or to find out whether they are eligible to claim, should ring the money and benefits hotline on 0300 300 8306.