Woman found guilty of benefit fraud

A woman has been found guilty of dishonestly claiming almost £10,000.

Jane Prentice, 50, who claimed to be a single parent on a low income, with three children, was prosecuted after falsely claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from Swale council between August 2016 and December 2017.

However, an investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions found she was living with a man and had been overpaid £9,194.68.

Prentice pleaded guilty at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to pay £220 in costs and victim payments.

Prentice will also have to pay back the benefits she was not entitled to and will undergo a year-long community order, 15-day rehabilitation course and complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

Woman who dishonestly claimed more than £18,000 avoids jail

A woman who dishonestly claimed more than £18,000 of employment support allowance has avoided jail.

Sharron Ensor from Rawmarsh admitted fraud by false representation and was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court.

Ensor claimed she was single and received £18,462 in employment support allowance from Barnsley Benefit Centre.

Judge Robert Kelson sentenced Ensor to three months in prison suspended for two years and she was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Aristocrat loses court battle with parents over ownership of family’s estate

A millionaire has lost a court battle over the family’s 230-year-old estate.

William Reeve, 38, says the future of the 3,000-acre Leadenham Estate, in Lincolnshire, is at risk due to his parents’ divorce.

He claimed the estate had been promised to him by his father and it was ‘unconscionable’ to split it up in the divorce. 

His arguments were last year rejected by a judge, who said any assurances given to him by his father were ‘not sufficiently clear’ to be relied upon.

However, William challenged the ruling saying Judge Evans-Gordon was biased.

The Court of Appeal dismissed claims that the judge was ‘biased’ against him.

William told the court, “The goal of my case is to keep the estate together…my primary aim is securing the future.”

Dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Baker said there were ‘no grounds whatsoever for thinking that Judge Evans-Gordon was biased.’

Lord Justice Baker said, “Far from supporting William’s assertion that the judge was concealing information from the matrimonial proceedings, the transcript demonstrates conclusively that she was doing her best to ensure that anything relevant to his claim was disclosed to him.


“No fair-minded and informed observer…would conclude that there was any real possibility that Judge Evans-Gordon was biased.”

Grandparents contact with grandchildren to be considered by ministers

Following pressure from MPs and campaigning groups, Justice Minister Lucy Frazer QC has agreed to look at rules allowing grandchildren to maintain contact with grandparents after parental separation.

An amendment to the Children Act is being asked to be considered, which would include a child’s right to have a close relationship with members of their extended family. The change would also cover aunts and uncles. At present, relatives have to apply to court to gain access rights and then have a child arrangement order put in place.

Tory MP Ms Frazer said, “Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, and I sympathise with those who experience the anguish of being prevented from seeing their grandchildren if a parental relationship ends.

“I am looking at what measures the Government could take to help more grandchildren maintain contact with grandparents following parental separation and will make an announcement about the Government’s plans in due course.”

Her comments follow research which suggests up to a million grandchildren are split from grandparents following family separation or bereavement.



Man accused father’s best friend of stealing inheritance

A man broke down in court after accusing his father’s best friend of stealing his inheritance.

The court heard that Richard Elliott had discovered his father had signed over the family home to his best friend, Graeme Prance, on the day he died.

Prance, 53, is charged with fraudulently helping himself to £60,000 of his friend’s savings after being granted Power of Attorney over his affairs.

A jury heard Richard Elliott had a “difficult relationship” with his father although the pair lived together.

Through a video link Mr Elliott said, “On the day my dad died Graeme said to me: ‘Did you realise your dad left me the bungalow?’

“He said I was not to worry because I could carry on living there rent free and he would not kick me out on the street.”

Mr Elliott said he “knew for a fact” that his father had left the bungalow to him in his will.

Mr Elliott, who was his father’s principle carer, told the court, “That has unfortunately been taken off me – it breaks my heart.

“It was stolen from me, it was my inheritance. My mum left it to my dad to be passed on to me when he died.”

Prance denies four charges of fraud and the trial continues.





Landlord trio ordered to pay £250,000 after cramming 31 tenants into home

A family of landlords has been ordered to pay almost £250,000 after “cramming” 31 tenants into a four-bedroom house.

Council officers found the tenants were forced to sleep in shifts as night workers would swap with those who had daytime working hours at the property in Wembley.

Four beds were found in the front room and three in each bedroom.

The authority said Harsha Shah, her daughter Chandni and brother Sanjay were bringing in approximately £112,000 a year by “stuffing 31 people into appalling conditions.”

Harsha and Chandni Shah have been subjected to a £116,000 confiscation order, while their agent Jaydipkumar Valand was made to repay £5,000.

All three defendants from the Shah family were also ordered to pay £41,000 in fines, as well as costs of £82,367 at Harrow Crown Court.



Carer forced to sell home or face jail to repay benefits

A man who is a carer for his 37-year-old son is being forced to sell his home or face jail because he wrongly received benefits that cost the taxpayer less than £110.

George Henderson, 59, has cared all his life without payment for his son who has mental health problems and is addicted to heroin.

In August 2010, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) official visited to ensure his son was getting the right benefits.

George then asked whether he could claim carer’s allowance.

Subsequently, the Department for Work and Pensions failed to notice that George was paying tax on his earnings and had received £19,500 carer’s allowance for more than six years.

However, he was prosecuted for fraud over a mistake that cost just 30p a week. George, who pleaded not guilty, said,

“As far as I was concerned, I never done anything wrong. I don’t owe the DWP a penny. They took it off my son, gave it to me, who gave it back to my son as caring for him.

“So the money that came off my son is the same amount of money as the DWP are actually trying to take back off me.”

At his trial at Preston Crown Court, George was found guilty of fraud and was fined, given a 32-week suspended sentence and electronically tagged.

Last month, the DWP used the Proceeds of Crime Act to force George to sell his home and pay back all £20,900 of overpaid carer’s allowance plus fines.



Judge criticises man for contesting divorce

A family judge has criticised an adulterous man for contesting a divorce in what has been described as an ‘awful case.’

The man contested the divorce despite admitting that he committed adultery over 22 years of their marriage.

Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts said the case was ‘extraordinary’ and described the man as ‘deeply dishonest.’

She said, “I do not believe him about any of the matters in issue in this case. His attitudes displayed in these proceedings are those which were common 40 years ago, not today.”

The judge added, “Mr H’s whole case has indeed been completely futile, a huge waste of money, a tragic destruction of family relationships, and all, in my opinion, to satisfy Mr H’s own vanity and need to be in control and for the other reasons I have suggested earlier. All he had to do was to not contest the divorce, a divorce he wanted, as virtually everybody else in the country does, and this couple would have had their decree nisi last year, the various relationships would, in all likelihood, have been well on the way to healing by now and the money saved for the family.”


Man denies £33k disability benefits fraud

A man has been charged of fraudulently claiming more than £33,000 in disability benefits over nearly six years.

Lorenzo Armas, 51, denies knowingly failing to notify benefit bosses of a change to his entitlement for disability living allowance between February 15 2012 and January 2 this year.

Armas is alleged to have claimed a total of £33,860.25 fraudulently.

Armas failed to inform the Department for Work and Pensions of the cash and about improvements to his physical condition.

A trial date has been set at Dundee Sheriff Court for February 22, 2019.


Farmer’s son who ‘doesn’t like cows’ loses inheritance court battle

The son of a farmer has lost an inheritance battle after saying he ‘doesn’t like cows.’


Clive Shaw, 55, went to court after discovering his parents had written him out of their wills.


Mr Shaw claimed that he worked on his parents’ farm from a very young age and did not pursue other career opportunities based on a promise that he would inherit the £1m farm.


However, the parents’ wills do not provide for him and leave the bulk of the estate to his sister.


Mr Shaw’s mother claims that he “hated the cows” on the farm and that he was incapable of managing the business.


His sister told the High Court in London that he often calls cows “stinking, horrible, rotten creatures.”


Judge Linwood said, “There was a family expectation that Clive, as the eldest child and only son, would inherit the farm – in the sense of it being a family business – not purely as an asset, but as a working farm, to be inherited by Clive as a farmer.


“Clive was promised the farm would be his inheritance from about 1978 onwards, but those assurances were conditional upon Clive working properly on the farm in the manner of a dedicated, long-term farmer.”


He added, “However, Clive was not sufficiently interested and his lifestyle choices were such that he did not want to take on the farm and dedicate himself to it, as his interests were elsewhere, in driving and engineering.”