In another case of benefit fraud in the UK, an unemployed mother-of-two, whose children had already been taken into care, invented a third child and received £50,000 per year in benefits. Her punishment? A nine-month sentence suspended for two years.
Much like Kerry Melia, a mother who recently invented children to claim thousands of pounds in benefits, 32-year-old Michaela Bartlett from Bolton has followed in her footsteps.
Although her two children had already been taken into care, Bartlett started claiming benefits for them in May 2008. When the summer of 2010 rolled around, she invented a third child and filed a further claim, eventually receiving a total of £50,000 a year.
How did Bartlett escape prison? Because "she has suffered an extremely troubled and chaotic adult life. She has been plagued by serious drug addiction," according to Chris Dawson, defending. Well I'm sorry, but whose fault is that?
Recorder John Bromley-Davenport QC said: "You pleaded guilty to fraudulent activity of which the public purse was deprived of over £49,000. That was in the context of an extraordinary period of dishonesty of all kinds. I accept your personal difficulties and addiction to drugs. I would have sent you to prison for quite a long time, but two factors weigh on my mind."
Bartlett pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud at Bolton Crown Court and was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and complete the New Direction Activity Requirement scheme.
This sends a very clear message to UK fraudsters: Take what you want and get away scot-free. However, throw a pie at Rupert Murdoch and get jailed for six weeks.
Benefit fraud costs UK taxpayers £1.5 billion every year.
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