Doncaster woman found guilty of claiming thousands of pounds in benefits while owning two houses worth £175k

A Doncaster woman has been found guilty of claiming thousands of pounds in benefits, while she owned two properties with a combined value of £175,000.

A Doncaster woman has been found guilty of claiming thousands of pounds in benefits, while she owned two properties with a combined value of 175,000.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how between 2012 and 2016, Jeanette Canvin claimed a sum of £5,035.98 through state benefits she was in receipt of.

Matthew Burdon, prosecuting, said in order for Canvin to claim the benefits she would have needed to declare that 'she did not own any property other than the home in which she lived'.

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But evidence showed Canvin, of Newfields Avenue, Moorends owned two Doncaster properties with her 'estranged husband' that were worth a combined amount of £175,000 when they were valued in March of last year.

Mr Burdon said: "The defendant was interviewed. She said she thought the properties she owned had been declared.

"She said she didn't want to own property, and wanted nothing out of them.

He added: "She said it was part of the arrangement with her estranged husband."

Canvin was convicted of two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of fraud by failure to disclose information when there is a legal duty to do so, following an earlier trial at Doncaster Magistrates' Court.

Defending, Ayesha Smart, said Canvin was previously of good character, and supported the view given by the author of Canvin's pre-sentence report that the best course of action would be to impose a community order.

The court was told that Canvin had already re-paid £353 to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) by the time the case reached court.

Ms Smart said that while Canvin did not have the money to immediately repay what she owed, her family had the facility to make payment for the outstanding amount of £5,995.68, which included legal costs.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Robert Moore said he could be persuaded to give Canvin a suspended sentence on the basis that the money would be repaid immediately, and opted to adjourn the hearing until today to allow Canvin's family to transfer the money to her barrister.

When the case resumed today, the court was told that the payment had been made to Canvin's barrister.

Judge Moore sentenced Canvin to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and to a rehabilitation activity requirement of 10 sessions at a women's centre.

He said: "You fall to be sentenced for three charges of fraud that were opened two days ago.

"You know the matter is so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified, but due to your illness and disability I can suspend the sentence."

Judge Moore ordered for the payment of £5,995.98 to be paid to the DWP within 28 days, and for a victim surcharge of £140 to be paid within four months.