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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Blonde jailed for claiming £62,000 in benefits - while working as a glamour model

A mother has been jailed for fraudulently claiming £62,000 in benefits - while working as a glamour model.

Blonde Clare Evans, 32, claimed she was jobless but was raking up to £800-a-month by posing on saucy websites.

At the same time she was claiming a variety of income support, housing benefit and council tax handouts - totalling £62,747 over six years.

Caught out: Clare Evans had been pocketing cash from glamour modelling

Caught out: Clare Evans had been pocketing cash from glamour modelling

She was finally caught when suspicious council officials noticed a sparkling new Audi TT sports car parked on her driveway.

Evans was jailed for ten months at Bristol Crown Court today after admitting a string of benefit fraud charges.

The hearing was told that she already has one previous conviction for benefit fraud dating back to 2008.

Evans, who is four months pregnant with her third child, wept uncontrollably as she was sent to the cells.

Jailed: Evans, who is for months pregnant, wept uncontrollably as she was led to the cells at Bristol Crown Court (pictured)

Jailed: Evans, who is for months pregnant, wept uncontrollably as she was led to the cells at Bristol Crown Court (pictured)

But Judge Martin Picton told her: 'This is £62,000 stolen from the community by someone with a previous conviction for benefit fraud. That crime outweighs any sympathy.

'This was a vast sum of money in benefit fraud terms. Ten months is about as merciful as I can be.'

Evans, of Pill, near Bristol, began claiming benefits legitimately in 2001 but failed to notify the authorities when she started working as a model in 2004, the court heard.

Anjali Gohil, prosecuting, said: 'Your honour will know that since at least 2001 the defendant has been claiming benefits - but it will be seen that the charges are since 2004.

'She is a woman who is trying to better herself considerably from her previous profession'

'In effect Miss Evans was working as a glamour model and thereafter received £200 to £800 per calendar month, depending on which website her shots were displayed.'

In October 2009 officials from South Gloucestershire Council noticed an Audi TT on the driveway of her home and found the vehicle - which costs up to £40,000 - was registered to her.

They launched an investigation with the Department of Work and Pensions, unearthing illegal benefit payments totalling £62,747 paid to her since 2004.

Evans - who already has a son aged 14 and a daughter aged 15 months - claimed that her friends, family and boyfriend had been paying cash into her account to help her out.

Last month she pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting the payment of benefits, and eight of making false statements to obtain benefits.

Tabitha (corr) Macfarlane, defending, told the court that Evans has now enrolled in a college course to become a children's nurse.

She said: 'From the outset she has been incredibly sorry for what she has done. She is a woman who is trying to better herself considerably from her previous profession.'

The court heard that Evans had previously been convicted for benefit fraud in 2008, for which she was given a community order.

After her conviction, Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said: 'Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer almost one billion pounds per year.

'This money is intended to help those most in need, not line the pockets of criminals.

'We will continue to tackle this problems at the frontline but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.'

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