Mum-of-three in benefits fraud avoids jail
A Londonderry mother who admitted falsely claiming over £58,000 in housing benefits and income support avoided going to jail by the “skin of her teeth”, a judge has warned her.
Judge Piers Grant made the comment at the Crown Court in the city when he imposed a 180- hour community service order on Louise Cowan of Ederowen Park.
The court was told that it would take over 30 years for the mother-of-three to repay the money at her current rate of repayment which is £30 per week.
A prosecution barrister said that Cowan started claiming the benefits in 1993. Between May 2004 and November 2007, she submitted application forms to continue to receive the payments without telling the authorities that she'd moved in with her landlord who is now her husband and the father of one of her children.
Defence counsel said Cowan, a “stay-at-home mum”, had not used the money to fund an affluent lifestyle.
As a result of her guilty plea, a Proceeds of Crime application is expected to be moved against Cowan early next year.