Devon

Plymouth woman jailed for £50,000 benefit fraud

Emma Lagrue Image copyright Plymouth Live
Image caption Emma Lagrue fraudulently claimed £51,293 between 2012 and 2018

A woman who committed benefit fraud of more than £50,000 has been jailed.

Emma Lagrue, of Borne Close, Plymouth, admitted six counts of benefit fraud at Plymouth Crown Court last year.

The 53-year-old falsely claimed employment support and disability allowance over a six-year period.

Judge Tim Nesbit said Lagrue had exaggerated her physical disabilities and sentenced her to 33 weeks - half of which she will serve in prison and the rest on licence.

An investigation into her benefit claims followed an anonymous allegation that she was not as disabled as she said she was, the court was told.

Lagrue failed to declare income from her work as a cleaner from 2012 and until 2018 dishonestly received £51, 293 in benefits, it heard.

She had issued fraudulent claims for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

Judge Nesbit said he could not give a suspended sentence "given the scale of the fraud, its impact on the public purse and the length of time it occurred".

The Crown Prosecution Service accepted she has some physical problems, he added, but said if she had been honest she might have only received a "fraction" of the money she had claimed.

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