Woman fraudulently claimed benefits with over £56k in the bank

Bournemouth Echo: BENEFITS: Leah Macdonald arrives at Bournemouth Magistrates Court BENEFITS: Leah Macdonald arrives at Bournemouth Magistrates Court

A WOMAN who had more than £56,000 in a savings account lied to council officials so she could continue claiming benefits, a court has heard.

Leah Macdonald, of Fir Vale Road, Bournemouth, said that she had just £200, when she had actually inherited tens of thousands of pounds.

Despite stashing the money away, the 41-year-old continued to claim housing and council tax benefit without informing Bournemouth Borough Council of the change in her circumstances.

Johanne McNamara, prosecuting on behalf of the council, said the defendant was awarded benefits in 2010.

“She said at this time that she had savings of £100,” she said.

“On November 1 2010, she completed a change of circumstances form and said she was working in a care home as an activities coordinator. On December 1 2010, she received capital in the sum of £56,458.52. She did not notify the authority and continued to claim benefit as if she was on a low income.”

In March of the following year, Macdonald applied for housing benefit on the basis that her work hours had been cut, the prosecutor said.

“At the time, her savings were in excess of £40,000,” Ms McNamara said.

“On June 23 that year, she said she had no savings as her partner had stolen them, but she had more than £25,000.”

The prosecutor said the defendant claimed around £2,889 in benefits at this time.

Macdonald admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances, two counts of falsely producing a document to obtain benefits, falsely making a statement to obtain benefits and falsely producing a document to obtain benefits at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court. She was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge after the court heard she had battled an “extreme” addiction to alcohol.

Mitigating, Brendan Allen said she has already paid back around £800 of the money owned through her legitimately-claimed benefits.

“When in the throes of a significant relapse, she got through a significant quantity of money,” he said.

“She is now £70,000 in debt as a result of loans she has taken out while in addiction.”

Comments (29)

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10:40am Sat 21 Jun 14

BIGTONE says...

So what's being said here....she blew 120K + on booze in 4 years?

Anyway she got a beaut of a result from the magistrate.
So what's being said here....she blew 120K + on booze in 4 years? Anyway she got a beaut of a result from the magistrate. BIGTONE
  • Score: 14

1:46pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Bryan72 says...

hooo
hooo Bryan72
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Chukki's uncle says...

That will teach her ! Very draconian ..............
That will teach her ! Very draconian .............. Chukki's uncle
  • Score: 6

3:46pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day.
I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.
Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day. I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 3

4:11pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Lord Spring says...

Sir Beachy Head wrote:
Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day.
I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.
Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that.
[quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day. I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.[/p][/quote]Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that. Lord Spring
  • Score: 3

4:18pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Lord Spring wrote:
Sir Beachy Head wrote:
Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day.
I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.
Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that.
Perhaps she enjoyed some 'Columbian marching powder' with the bubbly.
I hear it's a very popular combination amongst the wealthy.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Spring[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day. I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.[/p][/quote]Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that.[/p][/quote]Perhaps she enjoyed some 'Columbian marching powder' with the bubbly. I hear it's a very popular combination amongst the wealthy. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 7

6:15pm Sat 21 Jun 14

rubberbandman5 says...

A welfare cheat is the worse type of cheat. I don't believe a single word of what she had to say.
A welfare cheat is the worse type of cheat. I don't believe a single word of what she had to say. rubberbandman5
  • Score: 12

11:11pm Sat 21 Jun 14

kinsonjim says...

A welfare cheat she might be. but she was better than those entrusted
wirh etc. the welfare system. Sack those sat in their nice secure jobs with all the bebefits Give her a job, she is smarter than those we entrust our money.
A welfare cheat she might be. but she was better than those entrusted wirh etc. the welfare system. Sack those sat in their nice secure jobs with all the bebefits Give her a job, she is smarter than those we entrust our money. kinsonjim
  • Score: -19

11:59pm Sat 21 Jun 14

HRH of Boscombe says...

Sir Beachy Head wrote:
Lord Spring wrote:
Sir Beachy Head wrote:
Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day.
I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.
Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that.
Perhaps she enjoyed some 'Columbian marching powder' with the bubbly.
I hear it's a very popular combination amongst the wealthy.
Maybe it's just a blag to hide the rest
[quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lord Spring[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: Well is she spent 120,000 on booze in 4 years would approx £82 a day. I can't see it being possible unless it was champagne.[/p][/quote]Sounds like a load of Bollinger or a word like that.[/p][/quote]Perhaps she enjoyed some 'Columbian marching powder' with the bubbly. I hear it's a very popular combination amongst the wealthy.[/p][/quote]Maybe it's just a blag to hide the rest HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: 7

12:04am Sun 22 Jun 14

Yankee1 says...

I foresee a new liver transplant..courtesy of the NHS.
I foresee a new liver transplant..courtesy of the NHS. Yankee1
  • Score: 7

12:12am Sun 22 Jun 14

Chocolatebubbles says...

Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading .
Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading . Chocolatebubbles
  • Score: 19

12:34am Sun 22 Jun 14

Chocolatebubbles says...

The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later ....
The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later .... Chocolatebubbles
  • Score: 4

9:33am Sun 22 Jun 14

oversee says...

She'd get a good living haunting houses.............
She'd get a good living haunting houses............. oversee
  • Score: 1

9:48am Sun 22 Jun 14

bosco1 says...

I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!!
I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!! bosco1
  • Score: 4

9:52am Sun 22 Jun 14

retry69 says...

bosco1 wrote:
I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!!
So what have you done about it ?
[quote][p][bold]bosco1[/bold] wrote: I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!![/p][/quote]So what have you done about it ? retry69
  • Score: 9

10:06am Sun 22 Jun 14

bosco1 says...

retry69 wrote:
bosco1 wrote:
I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!!
So what have you done about it ?
Apparently they were caught a couple of years ago by the fraud department, but I believe they were able to fool the investigation officers, not sure if thats 100% true but they told people they got away with it.!! So I guess they are still claiming "There Entitlement" from the system, or they are living the life most of us do using our own money.! I doubt it though.! Sadly data protection protects them from being named.!
[quote][p][bold]retry69[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bosco1[/bold] wrote: I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!![/p][/quote]So what have you done about it ?[/p][/quote]Apparently they were caught a couple of years ago by the fraud department, but I believe they were able to fool the investigation officers, not sure if thats 100% true but they told people they got away with it.!! So I guess they are still claiming "There Entitlement" from the system, or they are living the life most of us do using our own money.! I doubt it though.! Sadly data protection protects them from being named.! bosco1
  • Score: 4

10:42am Sun 22 Jun 14

manyogie says...

Chocolatebubbles wrote:
The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later ....
And clearly, the premise of punishment hasn't sunk in.
[quote][p][bold]Chocolatebubbles[/bold] wrote: The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later ....[/p][/quote]And clearly, the premise of punishment hasn't sunk in. manyogie
  • Score: 8

12:53pm Sun 22 Jun 14

djd says...

Chocolatebubbles wrote:
Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading .
Whatever she's done, at least she's had the guts to come onto this forum and put her side to you. Yes, she made mistakes, don't we all??
If what she says is true, let her try to sort her life out.
Remember, dwell on your past and it becomes your future.
[quote][p][bold]Chocolatebubbles[/bold] wrote: Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading .[/p][/quote]Whatever she's done, at least she's had the guts to come onto this forum and put her side to you. Yes, she made mistakes, don't we all?? If what she says is true, let her try to sort her life out. Remember, dwell on your past and it becomes your future. djd
  • Score: 9

2:09pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Chocolatebubbles wrote:
The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later ....
Where was that pic taken ?
The reporters usually wait outside the court to take pics but it looks like the lower end of old christchurch road near to horse shoe common. Did they stalk you in a car or on foot to take it ? Did you spot them doing it ?
[quote][p][bold]Chocolatebubbles[/bold] wrote: The picture they've put up is punishment enough btw for those that feel sentence was too lenient , just awful !!!!!! :-D and yes I am making light of it now , but what else can i do, isn't nice having ur hard earned present affected by your past but hey my actions , my consequences .. Albeit 3 years later ....[/p][/quote]Where was that pic taken ? The reporters usually wait outside the court to take pics but it looks like the lower end of old christchurch road near to horse shoe common. Did they stalk you in a car or on foot to take it ? Did you spot them doing it ? Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 2

6:35pm Sun 22 Jun 14

justme20092009 says...

oh well
oh well justme20092009
  • Score: -2

7:19pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Chocolatebubbles says...

No I didn't see photographers , so guess they hid, what have I done about it..... Number one .. I have never nor will repeat that behaviour, paying the money bk and worked for a year voluntarily ( my choice ) within an organisation that works with recovering or trying to be addicts . There's no need to be nasty , I haven't been. I'm not going to keep apologising and begging for forgiveness, in my mind amending this situation comes from me permanently amending my behaviour , which I do, daily ..... As far as im concerned this matter is now closed as is the lifestyle that went along with this dark period of my life.... For those still persistent in judging , im assuming you have never put a foot wrong in your life ever !!! No i didn't think so, i wouldn't judge your life , so please take stock in your life before you point the finger at mine....life is about learning
No I didn't see photographers , so guess they hid, what have I done about it..... Number one .. I have never nor will repeat that behaviour, paying the money bk and worked for a year voluntarily ( my choice ) within an organisation that works with recovering or trying to be addicts . There's no need to be nasty , I haven't been. I'm not going to keep apologising and begging for forgiveness, in my mind amending this situation comes from me permanently amending my behaviour , which I do, daily ..... As far as im concerned this matter is now closed as is the lifestyle that went along with this dark period of my life.... For those still persistent in judging , im assuming you have never put a foot wrong in your life ever !!! No i didn't think so, i wouldn't judge your life , so please take stock in your life before you point the finger at mine....life is about learning Chocolatebubbles
  • Score: 6

7:20pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Chocolatebubbles says...

From your mistakes , not never making them.
From your mistakes , not never making them. Chocolatebubbles
  • Score: 1

7:26pm Sun 22 Jun 14

pete woodley says...

Owe business rates and you get sent down.
Owe business rates and you get sent down. pete woodley
  • Score: 3

7:43pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Chocolatebubbles wrote:
From your mistakes , not never making them.
'A man that never made a mistake never made anything'

I cant recall who said that but its probably true.

Anyway, I think you've got back on the right track so all the best for staying on it.
[quote][p][bold]Chocolatebubbles[/bold] wrote: From your mistakes , not never making them.[/p][/quote]'A man that never made a mistake never made anything' I cant recall who said that but its probably true. Anyway, I think you've got back on the right track so all the best for staying on it. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 2

9:06pm Sun 22 Jun 14

O'Reilly says...

I hope she is suitably chastised and will now do charity work helping Widows and Orphans... as a penance for her tilt from the straight and narrow.
I hope she is suitably chastised and will now do charity work helping Widows and Orphans... as a penance for her tilt from the straight and narrow. O'Reilly
  • Score: 0

9:14pm Sun 22 Jun 14

O'Reilly says...

bosco1 wrote:
I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!!
It's a waste of time reporting anything these days....their regular snitches still get paid on 'performance' i.e. conviction results..........
[quote][p][bold]bosco1[/bold] wrote: I know a couple who have been cheating the benefit system for years, to them it appears it is an automatic entitlement. Benefits was intended to help the less fortunate people in life, now it become "Im entitled to it". The system is to blame really its so easy and very few questions asked.More checks should be constantly made on benefit payments, after all its our money thats being given away for "FREE".!![/p][/quote]It's a waste of time reporting anything these days....their regular snitches still get paid on 'performance' i.e. conviction results.......... O'Reilly
  • Score: 1

9:37pm Sun 22 Jun 14

O'Reilly says...

djd wrote:
Chocolatebubbles wrote:
Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading .
Whatever she's done, at least she's had the guts to come onto this forum and put her side to you. Yes, she made mistakes, don't we all??
If what she says is true, let her try to sort her life out.
Remember, dwell on your past and it becomes your future.
Aye................ kudos.
[quote][p][bold]djd[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chocolatebubbles[/bold] wrote: Ok I am person and let me clear a few things up. This took place in 2010 Dec ended may 2011, total of 3000 in that time that I had in council tax benefit and hb that I shudnt have had... I back in those days made a lot of bad decisions , all of which I regret , all of which are now impossible to retract , however I turned my life around and am now a productive member of society,who works and us furthering my life by further education. Addiction is a horrific illness that robs the addict and those around them of everything but that was then. Debts were accumulated over 20 years not 4 as U suggest and 25,000 which was money left was deposit for a house I had secured a mortgage for, it has taken years to get to court hence only recent appearance and is not nice as have been free from this life a long time with a proven track record hence leniency, vast amounts of money disaapear at an alarming rate in addiction not just by act itself but by people who swarm around waiting like vultures, what I did back then was wrong, I alerted them to it, was not " found out" and pleaded guilty at first oppurtunity, never to be repeated again. We all make mistakes, act inappropriately at times , its a rare man who doesn't so please don't judge till U have all the facts , this article was vague and flimsy focusing only on paper selling headlines , thanks for reading .[/p][/quote]Whatever she's done, at least she's had the guts to come onto this forum and put her side to you. Yes, she made mistakes, don't we all?? If what she says is true, let her try to sort her life out. Remember, dwell on your past and it becomes your future.[/p][/quote]Aye................ kudos. O'Reilly
  • Score: 1

9:40pm Sun 22 Jun 14

O'Reilly says...

pete woodley wrote:
Owe business rates and you get sent down.
...or a TV Licence Peter.
[quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: Owe business rates and you get sent down.[/p][/quote]...or a TV Licence Peter. O'Reilly
  • Score: 2

7:42pm Fri 27 Jun 14

podgie says...

Theft of 56K that could go towards those in need,
Given a conditional discharge.
Nice to see the Magistrates have their fingers on the pulse of handing out fitting sentences to deter similar scumbags.
GIVE ME STRENGTH
Theft of 56K that could go towards those in need, Given a conditional discharge. Nice to see the Magistrates have their fingers on the pulse of handing out fitting sentences to deter similar scumbags. GIVE ME STRENGTH podgie
  • Score: 0

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