St Albans teacher exposed as benefits fraudster

PUBLISHED: 11:04 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 19 April 2017

St Albans Magistrates Court

St Albans Magistrates Court

Archant

A St Albans teacher has been ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid community work after she was exposed as a benefits fraudster.

Debbie Lavelle, 50, received £9,909 in council tax and housing benefit between June 11, 2012 and January 13 2016.

However St Albans magistrates were told today (April 19) she did not declare £298,000 she received following a divorce.

Her counsel, Pretti Sarin, said: “It was not a fraud at the outset.

“She is a teacher, and had a messy divorce.”

She said Lavelle, who works as a supply teacher for two days a week, had paid the money back.

Lavelle, of Hill End Lane, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to get benefits money.

Magistrates were told she suffered from anxiety and depression, and was previously of good character.

They passed a 12 month community order, with conditions that she carries out 80 hours’ unpaid work, pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

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