SHIREBROOK: Mum-of-two fined after wrongly claiming benefits

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

A mother-of-two whose household was still being supported by her estranged husband has been fined for wrongly claiming over £7,500 in welfare benefits.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Monday, July 22, how Carina Shorthose, 32, of Church Drive, Shirebrook, claimed income support, housing and council tax benefit without informing Bolsover District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she was maintaining a common household with estranged husband Marc Shorthose.

Prosecuting solicitor Michael Treharne said: “This lady was married and her husband was in the army. They lived together and split up. He lived from Catterick barracks and she moved with their child and as far as that move was concerned it was initially perceived as a move by her and her son and she was also expecting their second child.

“She was claiming as though nothing had changed but enquiries revealed evidence from Nat West bank showing her husband was paying sums into her account including his whole wage. These sums were used to maintain the household.

“When she started receiving the money she should have declared that.”

Mr Treharne explained that the total loss to public funds was £7,537.92.

Carina Shorthose pleaded guilty to failing to notify Bolsover District Council of a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit between September, 2011, and July, 2012. She also pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to income support between a similar period.

Defence solicitor Andrew Bostock said the couple had separated but used the same address and when Ms Shorthose moved to her current address she was not in a relationship or living with Mr Shorthose but they were maintaining a common household.

Mr Bostock argued the claims were continued because of a misunderstanding.

He added: “There was still a responsibility to provide a home for two children. The offence is based on negligence and was not a fraudulent claim.”

Magistrates fined Ms Shorthose £570 and ordered her to pay a £29 victim surcharge and £250 costs.