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Benefit con

PUBLISHED: 17:41 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:26 11 August 2010

A BENEFITS fraudster was branded thoroughly dishonest by a Crown Court Judge after she tried to escape trial by saying she was too ill. Linda Hobden of Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, falsely claimed over £18,000 in housing and council tax benefits. She

A BENEFITS fraudster was branded "thoroughly dishonest" by a Crown Court Judge after she tried to escape trial by saying she was too ill.

Linda Hobden of Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, falsely claimed over £18,000 in housing and council tax benefits.

She also pocketed incapacity benefits as a single person but did not tell the council she was living with her husband - who is employed full time.

In an attempt to avoid court Hobden came up with several excuses, including working as a volunteer in Africa and Mumbai, having an operation to remove a tumour from her spine and being admitted to Stoke Mandeville hospital.

Hobden finally appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 25 on six charges of dishonestly making a false statement to illegally claim benefits.

She changed her plea from not guilty to guilty for all six counts and was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Hobden was also ordered to pay back every penny she had claimed - £18,243.04 and pay council costs of £2,102 within the next two years.

In her defence Hobden said she was seriously ill with a weak immune system and mixed connective tissue disorder.

This was rejected by Judge Kamill who slammed Hobden as "thoroughly dishonest".


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