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Bilston benefits cheat to pay back £25k or face jail

By John Scott | Bilston | Crime | Published:

Scheming benefits cheat Wendy Robinson has been ordered to pay back more than £25,000 in the next three months or face a year in jail.

Wendy Robinson covers up at an earlier court hearing

The seizure will wipe out the profit she pocketed from the sale of a house in Meldon Drive, Bilston, she secretly bought with partner David Spite, whom she ‘killed off’ during the near £100,000, 13-year long fraud.

The 53-year-old told officials in 1998 that he had died, leaving her to bring up her daughters – now in their 20s – alone.

But the lorry driver was alive and well after changing his name to that of her brother – David Robinson – so the couple could live together as ‘brother and sister’ with she claimed benefits as a single parent.

But as the fraud began to unravel, they sold the Meldon Drive property, making a near £47,000 profit which they split but investigators froze the bank account of Wendy Robinson before her £25,570 share could be spent.

Miss Samantha Powis, prosecuting at a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court, said: “These are monies that can be used towards the debt since they are resting in her dormant account that has been restrained.”

Mr Stephen Hamblett, representing Robinson, who now lives in Yorkshire and claimed to be too ill to attend, retorted: “My instructions are that I am not to agree to this.”

But he conceded that the mortgage on the house, and the deeds, had been in both her name and that of her partner. Recorder Mr Peter Ievins said: “She says she has no knowledge of the money. If that is the case she will not miss it.”

Her benefit from the fraud was agreed at £99,465 while her available assets were said to be £25,570. The Recorder ordered that £23,309 from her share of the house sale should be recovered along with £1,800 costs of the case.

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Last summer she admitted cheating the Public Revenue of nearly £100,000 at various dates between December 2000 and August 2014 and was given an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years because of her ill health after she appeared at Birmingham Crown Court in a wheelchair and listed her alleged disabilities on oath to a judge.

Robinson left rented accommodation in 2000 claiming she would be living with another brother John, who knew nothing of the racket, at the home of her late parents in Southall Crescent, Coseley. In reality she and her partner had bought a house in Hayes Street, West Bromwich which was later sold for £78,000 when they moved to the Meldon Drive address.

But the fraud started to fall apart in 2013 when a query over her claims for council tax benefit at Southall Crescent revealed she had bought the Meldon Drive house, prompting a wider investigation by the Department of Work and Pensions.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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