Former Mum Of The Year Found Guilty Of £8,000 Benefits Fraud

22/05/2012 12:48 | Updated 22 May 2015
Mum of the Year found guilty of £8k benefit fraudPA

A young widow who was once voted Mum of the Year has been found guilty of benefits fraud.

Kelly Harvey, 30, continued to claim widow's allowance after her new partner moved in.

The mum of two had been claiming the benefit after her husband Leyton died of cancer at the age of 25 in 2008. The couple had two daughters, Leigh and Mollie.

Harvey continued to take the handout - which is only for bereaved single parents - after her new boyfriend Ryan Archbold moved into her home at Stapenhill, Staffs, in 2010.

Ms Harvey, who is employed at a local school, was accused of dishonestly pocketing £8,302 along with council and housing tax benefits until last year.

Burton Magistrates' Court were told by Debbie Leadbeater, prosecuting: "She began claiming the bereavement benefit in July 2008 following the death of her husband. She claimed this for her children and herself.

"But she had a partner who was employed and living with her from 2010. His vehicle, credit cards and bank accounts were registered to her address.

"The widowed parent's allowance should not have been paid after November 2010."

In February 2008, Ms Harvey was named Mum of the Year by her local newspaper, the Burton Mail, five months before her husband's tragic death.

Neil O'Driscoll, defending, said that Harvey had not been 'dishonest from the outset.'

"The dishonesty didn't occur from inception," he said, "The dishonesty began some two years after she first claimed the money when she found a new boyfriend. He used to stay at the property a few days each and every week.

"He eventually moved in and she should have disclosed that she was no longer eligible for the money. This was not dishonest from the outset. It became dishonest two years later."

Harvey will be sentenced on May 31.

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