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Woman convicted of £160k income support fraud to be sentenced by 'higher court'

Woman convicted of £160k income support fraud to be sentenced by 'higher court'

Sunday 11 March 2018

Woman convicted of £160k income support fraud to be sentenced by 'higher court'

Sunday 11 March 2018

A 40-year-old woman, who was found guilty of fraudulently claiming £160,000 of income support will be sentenced by the 'superior number' in the Royal Court next month.

The decision has been made to sentence Delia Jose Vieira Gaspar Browne in front of the superior number as it only sits for the most serious offences, when a sentence of more than four years could be imposed.

Mrs Browne was found guilty of fraud after a three-day trial in Royal Court in February.

Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit described the case as "substantial fraud", explaining that Mrs Browne had claimed income support from 2007 to 2016 on the basis that she was separated from Mr Browne, and was caring for their two children on her own. However, over that period of time Mr Browne was spending a lot of time in the former family home. From 2015, he was spending up to seven nights a week in the home but Mrs Browne never notified the Social Security department of the change of circumstances, fillings in various applications forms confirming she was separated from her husband and there was no other adult in the household.

The couple explained they lived together but "not in marriage" and that they kept the pretence of their marriage up for the sake of their children. They claimed the living arrangements were only due to Mrs Browne's working hours, which involved up to seven night shifts a week.

Advocate Adam Harrison, who was defending Mrs Browne, affirmed that the couple's separation was genuine and that Mrs Browne made “a clear distinction between living together as part of the same household and Mr Browne staying at the house to look after the children." 

Summing up the case for Jurats Jane Rouge and Paul Nicolle, the Bailiff Sir William Bailhache said that the Jurats needed to be "sure beyond reasonable doubt" that Mrs Browne had deliberately provided information she knew was false in order to obtain an award of income support, in order to convict her.

The Jurats returned a guilty verdict on both counts against Mrs Browne. Under the Social Security Law, she faces a sentence of up to seven years, a fine, or both. Her sentencing date has been set for 16 April and she remains in custody in the meantime.


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