THE mother of twins who admitted a benefits scam in April has been ordered to repay £41,100.
At a financial hearing under The Proceeds of Crime yesterday it was agreed Wendy Dodman’s criminal benefit was £48,694 but the amount she will have to pay was agreed at £41,100 – said to be her share of the equity in her home, which will now be put on the market to meet the court bill.
The agreed order was made by Judge Niclas Parry at Mold Crown Court.
He ordered the money should be paid within six months or he said she would have to serve 18 months in prison.
But he said she could make an application to extend the period but would have to show that everything possible had been done to sell the house.
At an earlier hearing Dodman, of Hill Street, Pentre Broughton, Wrexham, admitted three charges of fraud, claiming benefits when failing to notify authorities she had a partner living with her.
Mold Crown Court heard it was accepted her claim for the majority of the benefits had been genuine to start with.
Her partner Gary Jones was said to be earning in excess of £30,000 a year – and in 2011-12 earned £43,000 – but she continued to claim as a lone parent.
But they had separated for a short period when she first started to claim.
Dodman, 48, received an eight month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.
Judge Niclas Parry said over a period of six years she had committed “repeated fraud upon the public” and said it was the public who lost out in such offences.
It had been deliberate fraud. On her own admission it had been done in the full knowledge that she was receiving money to which she was not entitled.
She had submitted seven claim forms, each time deliberately lying.
“This type of offending costs the public literally millions and millions of pounds,” he said.
Such offences were difficult to detect – claims depended on trust and honesty.
But she would receive the maximum credit for pleading guilty at an early stage.
Judge Parry said he could not ignore the fact that she was the mother of eight-year-old twins.
“I must bear in mind the effect of any sentence on innocent dependents,” he said.
See full story in the Leader