Disabled woman ‘forced to take loan on house’ after scamming taxpayer out of £27,000

Fulwood said she needed help with shopping, ironing and cleaning.

Fulwood said she needed help with shopping, ironing and cleaning.

A woman who falsely claimed more than £27,000 has been forced to take out a £20,000 loan to pay most of the money back, a court has heard.

Barbara Fulwood, who was given a suspended jail sentence after admitting benefit fraud, received the cash on the basis that she needed help to do her shopping, ironing and cleaning.

But she later started working as a housekeeper at a local care home without notifying the DWP of the change in her condition that meant she could work.

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A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing was told that she had benefited from her crimes by £27,155 but has repaid back £605 to the DWP. The court heard that she has available assets of £178,000, the majority of which is the equity in her home.

Judge Simon Hirst ordered that the outstanding amount of £26,550 should be confiscated from her. She was given three months to hand over the money.

David Eager, for Fulwood, said she has already raised £20,000 after taking out a loan against her property. He said she could pay that money immediately and is looking to raise the rest from friends and family.

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When Fulwood was originally sentenced earlier this year Miss Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said she had initially made a legitimate claim for disability living allowance which was granted in 1995 due to mobility problems and other health issues.

Miss Leonard said: “The claim was legitimate at the outset but that changed when the defendant began working in May 2007.

“She was under a duty to notify the authorities of any change in her condition and failed to do so.”

Fulwood, 62, of Wapping Lane, Marton, near Gainsborough, admitted a charge of fraud between May 9, 2007 and June 16, 2015. She was given a four-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

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David Eager, for Fulwood, said: “She has let herself down. She knows what she has done is wrong.

“She is not someone who is swinging the lead. She has a number of health problems.

“She raised her children and they left home and so she was at a loose end and took up the employment.

“The amount of benefit she was receiving was not a living amount. She could barely survive.”