Corby benefit cheat who was overpaid almost £60,000 avoids jail

A Corby woman was overpaid almost £60,000 in benefits after failing to tell the authorities she was living with her husband.

Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 5:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:28 pm
Northampton Crown Court

Anne Klemis, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit at a court hearing last month.

On Monday Northampton Crown Court heard how Klemis, of Westfield Road, had claimed housing benefits as a single parent.

She had a child with then-partner Dean Kennedy in 2009 but did not tell Corby Council of their relationship.

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Kennedy began living with her in August 2012 and Klemis failed to declare they were co-habiting each time she filled out a council means form - meaning she received an automatic payment which was too much.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) began investigating Klemis’ claims and it soon became apparent the pair had got married in 2014.

Prosecuting, James Dean told the court that Kennedy began registering items to Klemis’ address - and even told Corby Council he was living there.

He said: “He gave his address as Westfield Road on a number of personal accounts.

“He registered his mobile phone, a loan agreement and his driving licence there.

“In June 2014 he went to Hays and gave Westfield Road as his address and Ms Klemis as an emergency contact.

“In January 2015 he even told Corby Council that was his address.”

In total, Klemis was overpaid £58,366.32.

Mitigating, Julie Warburton said this was a case of “on-off” co-habiting and that Klemis had already made a repayment of £100.

She said: “The information I have is that they are still not living together in any formal capacity.

“Although she is in receipt of benefits there are continuing deductions.

“She is fully aware that she will be paying this back for a very long time, possibly even the rest of her life.”

Sentencing Klemis to six months in prison suspended for two years, Recorder Huston said: “Your case is that he was not contributing to you or your children.

“But you got married to him and he registered at your address and you did not notify anyone.

“It’s clear that these offences are serious but because of your good character and everything I have heard the custodial sentence will be suspended.

“This matter is not going to go away and it will take you many years to repay it.”

Klemis was also ordered to partake in a rehabilitation programme for 20 years.

Paul Baggaley, DWP Fraud Investigation Manager, said: “Only a small minority of people try to cheat the benefits system, but cases like this show how we are rooting out those who are stealing taxpayers’ money and diverting it away from the people who really need it.”