Lancashire Telegraph£40k Burnley benefit cheat jailed for 20 weeks (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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£40k Burnley benefit cheat jailed for 20 weeks

Lancashire Telegraph: Benefits cheat Louise Coulter Benefits cheat Louise Coulter

A JUDGE has hit out at the ‘ludicrously low’ guideline sentences for benefits cheats, as she locked up a mother-of-two for claiming almost £40,000 in a four-and-half-year scam for 20 weeks.

Judge Beverley Lunt told Burnley Crown Court fraudsters who set out to take taxpayers' cash might assume they will automatically be handed a suspended prison term and that isn't a deterrent.

The judge made her comments when she sentenced Louise Coulter, 38, who had lied repeatedly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), claiming her partner John Wilcox had left her, when he was still living with her and was working.

Coulter was arrested after surveillance on the home in Barclay Avenue, Burnley, she shared with Mr Wilcox, but even then she wouldn't own up and further investigations were carried out.

The court heard Coulter had told a probation officer that she thought defrauding the DWP was the easy option.

Judge Lunt, who slammed her actions as deliberate and calculated, told her: “Too many people like you think that it's the easy option. It may be the guideline sentences set down by the Sentencing Council, which judges must follow, are so ludicrously low that everyone thinks they will automatically be suspended, which clearly is not acting as a deterrent and that is a wrong assumption.”

Coulter now of St John's Road, Burnley, had admitted three counts of dishonesty, one involving income support, one housing and council tax benefits, paid by Burnley Council, and the third regarding jobseekers' allowance. Coulter is paying the money back at £21.90 a fortnight out of her benefits.

Fraser Hunter, defending, said Coulter's ex-partner, who had now left her and had disappeared, was to some extent a bully and was highly influential in her making the false claim.

Mr Hunter said: “She faced a large amount of domestic issues.”

He added Coulter was now taking positive steps to support her children financially and was on an IT course.

Comments (22)

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1:17pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Steven Seagull says...

At least she might lose a bit of weight in prison.
At least she might lose a bit of weight in prison. Steven Seagull
  • Score: 27

2:10pm Thu 24 Apr 14

greenscreener says...

Where can I get £ 40,000 loan for £11 a week ?
Where can I get £ 40,000 loan for £11 a week ? greenscreener
  • Score: 43

2:26pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Happy-Dude says...

A Bit of good news, lets hope more scumbags are caught, try all the council estates like shadsworth, mill hill etc, there are loads of scumbags there claiming that a couple is not living together but yet still having children, then on top of this claim to be so called "carers" these kind of people need to be caught as they know how to play the system, but like the person in the artical they will get caught eventually and lets hope they do.
A Bit of good news, lets hope more scumbags are caught, try all the council estates like shadsworth, mill hill etc, there are loads of scumbags there claiming that a couple is not living together but yet still having children, then on top of this claim to be so called "carers" these kind of people need to be caught as they know how to play the system, but like the person in the artical they will get caught eventually and lets hope they do. Happy-Dude
  • Score: 26

3:52pm Thu 24 Apr 14

DaveBurnley says...

£40,000 in 4 1/2 years? That's nothing to our MPs. They are the biggest fraudsters of all, the difference is that they write the rules to make it legal.
£40,000 in 4 1/2 years? That's nothing to our MPs. They are the biggest fraudsters of all, the difference is that they write the rules to make it legal. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 20

3:56pm Thu 24 Apr 14

onsidecobra says...

There is a little bit of mine and the rest of honest society's money in that £40,000 that you stole Ms Coulter, so I'm glad that you are going to prison. Whether you will live long enough to repay the amount stolen (and I very much doubt it) is a very different matter and consequently society is still out of pocket because of your dishonesty. I hope that you are proud of yourself.
There is a little bit of mine and the rest of honest society's money in that £40,000 that you stole Ms Coulter, so I'm glad that you are going to prison. Whether you will live long enough to repay the amount stolen (and I very much doubt it) is a very different matter and consequently society is still out of pocket because of your dishonesty. I hope that you are proud of yourself. onsidecobra
  • Score: 24

4:14pm Thu 24 Apr 14

ikap22 says...

greenscreener wrote:
Where can I get £ 40,000 loan for £11 a week ?
Dwp
[quote][p][bold]greenscreener[/bold] wrote: Where can I get £ 40,000 loan for £11 a week ?[/p][/quote]Dwp ikap22
  • Score: 11

4:22pm Thu 24 Apr 14

ikap22 says...

How silly is that, in prison funded by the tax payers! Don't make sense. She should have been given 4000 hours of community service. Hardly the crime of the century.
How silly is that, in prison funded by the tax payers! Don't make sense. She should have been given 4000 hours of community service. Hardly the crime of the century. ikap22
  • Score: -18

5:38pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Truth will out says...

The judge (for once) is right. The guidelines are way too low. There is no way this sentence will deter others from trying what this oik did.

If anything this sentence will encourage more oiks to try it.

She's paying back 21.90 a fortnight. So for my 40 grand that she stole I, as the taxpayer, should be all square by April 2084 at which point she'll be 108 and still on benefits.

Marvellous.
The judge (for once) is right. The guidelines are way too low. There is no way this sentence will deter others from trying what this oik did. If anything this sentence will encourage more oiks to try it. She's paying back 21.90 a fortnight. So for my 40 grand that she stole I, as the taxpayer, should be all square by April 2084 at which point she'll be 108 and still on benefits. Marvellous. Truth will out
  • Score: 25

6:24pm Thu 24 Apr 14

happycyclist says...

What a nerve Lunt has. She's been giving pathetic sentences out for years. Got to be one of the worst judges in the country. An utter disgrace to her profession.
What a nerve Lunt has. She's been giving pathetic sentences out for years. Got to be one of the worst judges in the country. An utter disgrace to her profession. happycyclist
  • Score: 14

6:25pm Thu 24 Apr 14

hunter3062 says...

40k off housing benefit,council tax benefit,income support and unemployment benefit = the tax payer's money. she gets what 20 weeks inside 10 if lucky..state benefits reinstated a private landlord higher rent than her calico home nothings changed in the long term 40 k better off and paying it back from her reinstated benefits = once again tax payers money..why not give her a community work sentence that equals hours x min wage untill the debt is paid..i can see now why so many people do it there is no punishment as such..
40k off housing benefit,council tax benefit,income support and unemployment benefit = the tax payer's money. she gets what 20 weeks inside 10 if lucky..state benefits reinstated a private landlord higher rent than her calico home nothings changed in the long term 40 k better off and paying it back from her reinstated benefits = once again tax payers money..why not give her a community work sentence that equals hours x min wage untill the debt is paid..i can see now why so many people do it there is no punishment as such.. hunter3062
  • Score: 16

7:47pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Saj143 says...

Deport her !
Deport her ! Saj143
  • Score: -4

7:56pm Thu 24 Apr 14

phil kernot says...

Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym
Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym phil kernot
  • Score: 10

8:06pm Thu 24 Apr 14

ikap22 says...

phil kernot wrote:
Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym
😂😂😂😂😂
😂
[quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym[/p][/quote]😂😂😂😂😂 😂 ikap22
  • Score: 6

10:29pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Lancs - pensioner says...

Saj143 wrote:
Deport her !
Here here after flogging her, scum end off.
[quote][p][bold]Saj143[/bold] wrote: Deport her ![/p][/quote]Here here after flogging her, scum end off. Lancs - pensioner
  • Score: -5

10:29pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Lancs - pensioner says...

ikap22 wrote:
phil kernot wrote:
Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym
😂😂😂😂😂

😂
It would take longer than that!!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]ikap22[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: Should be sentenced to 4000 hours at a gym[/p][/quote]😂😂😂😂😂 😂[/p][/quote]It would take longer than that!!!!!!! Lancs - pensioner
  • Score: 3

11:49pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Steven11 says...

Saj143 wrote:
Deport her !
Pillock , you are one of the guests in this country , so any deportation should be you .
[quote][p][bold]Saj143[/bold] wrote: Deport her ![/p][/quote]Pillock , you are one of the guests in this country , so any deportation should be you . Steven11
  • Score: -2

11:56pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Steven11 says...

Classy bird , bet all the Dingles will go mad over her on a Friday night out in burnley ,wow. !
Classy bird , bet all the Dingles will go mad over her on a Friday night out in burnley ,wow. ! Steven11
  • Score: 0

7:57am Fri 25 Apr 14

rudis_dad says...

Truth will out wrote:
The judge (for once) is right. The guidelines are way too low. There is no way this sentence will deter others from trying what this oik did.

If anything this sentence will encourage more oiks to try it.

She's paying back 21.90 a fortnight. So for my 40 grand that she stole I, as the taxpayer, should be all square by April 2084 at which point she'll be 108 and still on benefits.

Marvellous.
Yes, but they're just that - guidelines. They're not hard and fast rules. English law is built on precedent - the problem is that many judges, and Beverley Lunt is one of the worst, are afraid to set precedents.
[quote][p][bold]Truth will out[/bold] wrote: The judge (for once) is right. The guidelines are way too low. There is no way this sentence will deter others from trying what this oik did. If anything this sentence will encourage more oiks to try it. She's paying back 21.90 a fortnight. So for my 40 grand that she stole I, as the taxpayer, should be all square by April 2084 at which point she'll be 108 and still on benefits. Marvellous.[/p][/quote]Yes, but they're just that - guidelines. They're not hard and fast rules. English law is built on precedent - the problem is that many judges, and Beverley Lunt is one of the worst, are afraid to set precedents. rudis_dad
  • Score: 7

8:30am Fri 25 Apr 14

Pendlesider says...

quote "Coulter is paying the money back at £21.90 a fortnight out of her benefits".
.
so the fraudster is stealing money from the taxpayers, then paying it back using taxpayers money.
.
Judge Lunt is simply making excuses here. Lunt has had ample opportunity to lobby the sentencing council to change the guideline sentences for these sort of benefit crimes. In any case, Judge Lunt has the powers to increase the sentence (just google sentencing guidelines for benefit fraud).
.
if coulter's 'partner' was influencing the crimes why wasn't he in court?
para. 24. Where an offender was an organiser, planner or prime mover in a fraudulent enterprise ...this is likely to be an aggravating factor which will tend to move the sentence above the appropriate starting point.
.
Judge Lunt could have increased the sentence and if concerned the defendant is entitled to appeal. wool, sheeps eyes over me thinks...
quote "Coulter is paying the money back at £21.90 a fortnight out of her benefits". . so the fraudster is stealing money from the taxpayers, then paying it back using taxpayers money. . Judge Lunt is simply making excuses here. Lunt has had ample opportunity to lobby the sentencing council to change the guideline sentences for these sort of benefit crimes. In any case, Judge Lunt has the powers to increase the sentence (just google sentencing guidelines for benefit fraud). . if coulter's 'partner' was influencing the crimes why wasn't he in court? para. 24. Where an offender was an organiser, planner or prime mover in a fraudulent enterprise ...this is likely to be an aggravating factor which will tend to move the sentence above the appropriate starting point. . Judge Lunt could have increased the sentence and if concerned the defendant is entitled to appeal. wool, sheeps eyes over me thinks... Pendlesider
  • Score: 7

12:32pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Jerzei Balowski says...

happycyclist wrote:
What a nerve Lunt has. She's been giving pathetic sentences out for years. Got to be one of the worst judges in the country. An utter disgrace to her profession.
Quite agree. Her comments must be the very definition of irony.
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: What a nerve Lunt has. She's been giving pathetic sentences out for years. Got to be one of the worst judges in the country. An utter disgrace to her profession.[/p][/quote]Quite agree. Her comments must be the very definition of irony. Jerzei Balowski
  • Score: 4

1:40pm Fri 25 Apr 14

boynesider says...

pathetic ,if she has been fiddling the state then her benefits should be stopped till the debt is repaid.and to all who complain that they know of suspected fraudsters instead of ranting online use the internet or phone to report the abuse.why should we put up with it as though it is a victimless crime?
pathetic ,if she has been fiddling the state then her benefits should be stopped till the debt is repaid.and to all who complain that they know of suspected fraudsters instead of ranting online use the internet or phone to report the abuse.why should we put up with it as though it is a victimless crime? boynesider
  • Score: 5

9:53am Wed 30 Apr 14

jawdropper says...

Maybe she should have claimed she was an MP, and just said "sorry".
Maybe she should have claimed she was an MP, and just said "sorry". jawdropper
  • Score: 0

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