By Tony Winterburn • 28 September 2020 • 11:07
A British Pensioner claimed £17,000 of UK benefits – even though she was living in Spain.
Lesley Udberg admitted to Newcastle Crown Court two counts of dishonestly and failing to notify a change of circumstances after she claimed more than €19,000 (£17,000) while she was living in Spain.
The pensioner, who fraudulently pocketed thousands of pounds in UK benefits while living in Spain, has been given a suspended prison sentence for benefit fraud. It is understood that Lesley Udberg had a number of health conditions which meant she was unable to work from the age of 42.
The court heard that she lodged a genuine claim for disability announcement back in 1994 but she lived abroad in Spain while still pocketing thousands in handouts from the government. Newcastle Crown Court heard she was not entitled to benefits while living in Spain because she “failed to disclose” she was living in Spain for six years.
Lee Fish, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court the claim for DLA began in 1994 and later became personal independence payment, in 2017. He said the total over-payment was €19,376 (£17,300), although she has currently paid back more than €4,480 (£4,000) and is paying €56 (£50) a week out of her pension. Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Udberg, who admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances, to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
He told her: “You should have told the authorities back in 2011 of the considerable periods of time you were spending in Spain and you failed to do so.
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‘Costa del Crime’ is a haven for benefit fraud- according to a recent report from the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions). It concluded that over a thousand ex-pats (and most probably more) are believed to be scamming the system while soaking up the sun.
New figures show there are more cases of so-called ‘abroad fraud’ by UK citizens in Spain than in any other country in the world.
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