Cash-strapped mum lied about twins she never had to claim benefit
A CASH-STRAPPED mother has admitted falsely claiming a £1,000 state benefit for twins she never had.
Donna Goodman, aged 28, has had four children in the past nine years — but claimed that she was having five more. Goodman at first altered the number of children she was expecting from one to two on a claim form for the Government's Sure Start scheme.
GUILTY PLEA: Donna Goodman claimed a grant for fictitious twins
Plymouth magistrates were told that officials spotted the alteration and she was only paid for the single child she was due.
John Major, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions, said that just over two years later she again filled in the same form saying she was expecting twins – when she was not pregnant.
He added that this time she forged a health worker's signature and was falsely paid £1,000.
Mr Major said that on a third occasion a few months later she again claimed on the form for twins when she was not pregnant and again forged a health worker's signature.
Magistrates sentenced her to four months in prison but suspended the term for 12 months.
Presiding magistrate Jennifer Hulbert said: "These were particularly nasty offences. You deliberately forged signatures and you knew what you were doing."
Goodman, of Blandford Road, Efford, admitted three counts of deliberately submitting false details with a view to making a gain on three separate occasions, in November 2006, February 2009 and July 2009.
Tearful Goodman told the court: "I was struggling financially. I am sorry and I will try and pay everything back."
The court heard that she had four children, including a genuine set of twins, aged between just under two and nine.
Mr Major said that on the first occasion she submitted a form for the Sure Start Maternity Grant where the number of children she was expecting was "crudely amended" from one to two.
He added that officials spotted the alteration and only paid her for one child.
Mr Major said that Goodman submitted a claim for the same grant in February last year saying she was expecting twins. He added that this claim was 'totally false'.
But the court heard the form was supported by the forged signature of a health worker and was paid.
Mr Major said that only a few months later she again forged a signature and claimed she was expecting twins.
But this time the money was not paid and an investigation was launched.