�35,000 benefits cheat aged 54 ordered to repay ill-gotten gains....at �10 a week until 2077

Property owner who fooled the council as she defrauded benfits system will be dead before she repays the money

A BENEFITS cheat who pocketed over �35,000 despite owning two flats worth �400,000 had been told to pay off her debt - by 2077.

Anthonia Daniel is 54, will have been dead for decades before the final instalment of �10 a week is due.

She sold all her properties when she realised the police were on her trial - but insists she is now penniless because relatives in Africa apparently took her money.

And the mother-of-three said she could cope in prison because she thinks she is going blind, Inner London Crown Court heard.

Daniel appeared to weep in the dock as Judge Usha Karu explained she had been given assurance that Holloway Prison was quite able to cope with any visual disability.

But she beamed when the judge finally gave her a suspended jail sentence and ordered her to pay back her debt - at �10 a week.

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Inner London Crown Court heard Daniel started claiming benefits in 1994 without declaring she was the owner of a house in Stoke Newington, north London.

Brinder Soora, prosecuting, said: “Housing benefit, council tax and income support was defrauded between 28 March 1994 and 22 May 2005.

‘The total overpayment is �36,601.41.”

In January 2001 the house was converted into two flats and over the next two years she made �1,200 in rent a month.

In December 2005 one flat sold for �140,000 and the following September the other one fetched �270,000.

By February of 2006 a Newham Council housing official made a credit check and discovered she had mortgages on the properties.

During an interview in August 2006 Daniel claimed the property was left to her and her siblings in her mother’s will.

“She said she didn’t tell Newham as it didn’t feel like it belonged to her,” said the prosecutor.

But the full title had been hers since 2001, the court heard.

Graham Blower, defending, said she had been genuinely looking out for her family.

“At one stage she was living in a derelict house sorting out money for her family in Africa,” said the barrister.

“This is not someone that targeted the benefit system or living a champagne lifestyle.’

Mr Blower claimed the proceeds paid off the mortgages and were shared among the siblings, leaving Daniel just �5,000 on top of her disability benefits of �180 a week.

“There is no money, there are no funds,” he insisted.

Judge Karu asked: “A few months before she sold the property she knew the authorities were onto her and she has made no provision to pay it back?”

Mr Blower also explained that the prognosis for Daniel’s eyes is poor and added: “What is the point in banging up a 54-year-old blind woman?”

Passing sentence Judge Karu said: ‘You pulled the wool over the eyes of the council in order to claim benefit.

“You were able to claim rental income and you got rid of the property before the authorities could do anything about it.

“All that makes you seem like a calculating and deceitful woman.

“That is one side to you. The other side is you are a woman of 54, a mother with a family. You were no doubt concerned for them.

“But the trouble with this kind of offending is that innocent people who need the money are deprived of it.

“It is a difficult decision because you suffer from health problems and your eyesight in particular is at risk.

“The custody threshold is more than passed but extremely reluctantly I am not going to pass an immediate custodial sentence today.”

Daniel was handed 12 months in jail suspended for 24 months.

The judge also imposed a three month curfew between 10pm and 7am and ordered her to pay �34,475.04 compensation.

Daniel, of Plashet Grove, Plaistow, admitted five counts of false accounting and four of evasion of liability.