A fraudster who created a false identy to claim nearly £50,000 in housing benefits has received a suspended prison sentence.
Mary Mendy, of Grenfell Tower in Notting Hill's Lancaster West Estate, was given 24 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months as well as a year's supervision and 16 sessions of structured supervision for women at Isleworth Crown Court last Wednesday (June 25).
The 50-year-old claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit on the basis she was working part-time.
Between April 1, 2004 and July 21, 2013, she was overpaid housing benefits by £45,631.06 and council tax benefit amounting to £3,874.80.
Following an investigation by Kensington and Chelsea Council's corporate investigation group, they discovered she had created a false identiy.
Under Mary Abel Thomas she had a second job which she had failed to declare for benefit purposes.
The con artist told the court her husband was sometimes violent to her and had forced her to open an account in the name of Mary Thomas, insisting she did not inform the council of her change in circumstances.
She maintained her husband controlled the finances and ran the account but Judge Dugdale said it was apparent that although there was a degree of coercion there was another route for her to take and she had plenty of opportunity to take herself out of the situation.
Mendy pleaded guilty on May 28, 2014 at Isleworth Crown Court to six counts of failing to declare her true circumstances.