May 25 2013 Latest news:
Monday, August 6, 2012
A Victim Support worker who dishonestly pocketed almost £50,000 in benefits has been spared jail after a judge accepted “we will all be dead” by the time she pays the cash back.
Celita Suares, 36, of Airlie Gardens, Ilford, was given a suspended jail sentence after judge Garrett Byrne said jailing her would deprive her children of their mother.
The mum-of-three claimed tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money over five-and-a-half years after lying to authorities about her employment.
She hid details of her work with Redbridge Victim Support between July 2005 and January 2011 to net £47,913 in income support.
She later told probation officers the false claims had been an “oversight” on her part.
Today, Suares was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court to a 12-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 120 hours’ unpaid work.
The judge said: “In my judgement the case clearly crosses the custody threshold.
“On the other hand I give you credit for your guilty plea, your good character, and that you pose a very low risk or re-offending, but, more importantly I take into account that you are a mother.
“You have three children who in my judgement would suffer if they were deprived of their mother.
“Those circumstances allow me to suspend the prison sentence.”
He added that Suares’ efforts to pay back the cash at the rate of £50 a month meant “we will all be dead by the time she’s paid that back”.
She no longer works for Victim Support, which provides confidential support and information to victims of crime, having lost her job as a result of her conviction.
Suares pleaded guilty to one count of failing to notify a change of circumstances to obtain benefit and one count of fraud.
Police swooped on the homeless, grabbing sleeping bags and food parcels donated by the public, in co-ordinated raids around the borough.