A GRANDMA has been jailed for a year after defrauding councils and the government of almost £80,000.
Margaret Flack, 48, of Alinora Crescent, Goring, was sentenced to 12 months in prison on Monday, at Chichester Crown Court, after pleading guilty to 12 counts of fraud and obtaining property by deception.
The court heard how Flack claimed income and housing support as well as council tax benefits over a nine-year period by claiming she was a lone parent – despite living with her working husband.
During sentencing, Judge Claudia Ackner said Flack had cheated the system designed to help those in need.
She added: “The law views benefit cheats seriously as it undermines a system which relies on trust and honesty.”
The court heard how Flack obtained £79,864 over nine years, with Worthing Council one of those targeted.
The court also heard how Flack had previous convictions for similar offences, including conspiracy to defraud an insurance company of £21,000 relating to a fake burglary.
Jeffrey Lamb, representing Flack, said his client had a “troubled life” due to the death of close family members.
He said she was a “stalwart of the family”, with both her elderly mother and grandson relying on her.
He added: “Matters just spiralled out of control. She always knew her crime would one day be discovered.”