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Great-grandma who swindled £40k in benefits avoids jail

A great grandmother who claimed £40,000 in benefits while secretly owning a Spanish holiday villa has narrowly avoided jail.

Sally Folan, 63, rented out the villa in a resort on the Spanish coast while also claiming Jobseekers Allowance in the UK. She failed disclose the property to authorities.

Hove Crown Court heard she and her husband, Noel, a builder, had moved to Spain ‘for a better life’.

In 2002, they sold their home in Sussex and bought the house of their dreams in Spain for 120,000 euros (£105,868).

Sally Folan, (right), 63, rented out the villa in a resort on the Spanish coast while also claiming Jobseekers Allowance in the UK. She failed disclose the property to authorities

They in 2003, when Ms Folan was 48.

Mr Folan was able to find regular work in the building trade and the couple had money coming in.

However, following the 2007 credit crunch, Mr Folan struggled to find  building jobs and the value of their property plummeted and the pair were forced to make ends meet by selling goods at car boot sales.

Eventually the situation became so bad they were forced to return to the UK where Folan made her claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

She applied for benefits but failed to tell the authorities about her home in El Puerto De Mazarrón in Spain.

And despite several reviews in over the next three years Hove Crown Court heard the great grandmother kept quiet about the property she owned in the coastal Spanish resort.

Martha Walsh, prosecuting, said that between February 2013 and June 2016 she fraudulently claimed £39,462.59 before the authorities discovered she had a property in Murcia, Spain.

Miss Walsh said: ‘Her claim was fraudulent at the outset, perpetuated for a significant amount of time and there were a number of occasions on which she could have set the record straight.’

Ms Folan failed to tell the authorities about her home in El Puerto De Mazarrón in Spain

Ms Folan failed to tell the authorities about her home in El Puerto De Mazarrón in Spain

Martha Walsh, prosecuting, said that between February 2013 and June 2016 she fraudulently claimed £39,462.59 before the authorities discovered she had a property in Murcia, Spain

Martha Walsh, prosecuting, said that between February 2013 and June 2016 she fraudulently claimed £39,462.59 before the authorities discovered she had a property in Murcia, Spain

Kevin Light, defending, said Folan and her husband, Noel, a builder, had staked everything on their new life in Spain.

He said the great grandmother was of previously of good character and had admitted her guilt a the first opportunity.

Judge Jeremy Gold QC sentenced Ms Folan to eight months in prison suspended for two years.

He also ordered her to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and warned her she would face jail if she did not comply with ruling.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Worthing, will also be subject to a hearing to establish how she can pay back the sum and has already begun paying £50 month towards it.

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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