Teen sentenced over benefit fraud scam in east Hull
A TEENAGER has been sentenced for her role in a benefit fraud scam in east Hull.
Terrijo Brady, 19, paid someone to alter her benefit cheque from £68.73 to £368.73.
Twenty-three people have pleaded guilty to being involved in the scam, which is thought to have netted about £40,000.
They would pay a man – who has not yet been named in court – to increase the amounts on benefit cheques they had received.
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Prosecutor Fiona Bolder said: "Someone approached her and said they could alter the cheque for a bigger amount. It was returned to her an hour later and she admitted signing the back of the cheque and cashing it for the larger amount."
Police have described the scam, based on the Preston Road estate, as one the most organised they have come across.
Brady, of Bilton Grove, admitted one charge of fraud by false representation when she appeared at Hull Magistrates' Court.
District Judge Frederick Rutherford said: "She has been stupid but this is made more serious because it was part of a series of offences."
They were all caught as part of Operation Languish, launched by Humberside Police and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) after the department's regional fraud unit noticed a pattern of suspicious cheques from the HU9 area.
All of the cheques had been cashed at the East Park Post Office in Morrisons supermarket, Holderness Road, or at the loan company H Stanley.
They found out about the scheme by word-of-mouth around the estate.
Representing Brady, Max Gold said: "These people were hanging around, watching people cash cheques like this and approaching them.
"At the time, she was desperate. She had just found out the baby she was having was going to be born two months prematurely."
Brady is having money deducted from her benefits to repay the £300 she acquired.
Judge Rutherford ordered Brady to attend Humberside Probation Trust's senior attendance centre for 24 hours.
He said: "Please do it. If you don't, you will be back before me and I will have to punish you in a different way, which will be far more severe."
Donna Walker, who faces a charge of supplying an article intending it to be used in fraud, is due to appear at Hull Magistrates' Court today.
She has not yet entered any pleas to the charge.
Three others, Michael Ben Ostler, Luke Braithewaite and Kayleigh Marie Walker, have also not entered any pleas to the charges they face.
The remaining defendants who have admitted their guilt will be sentenced later this month and in March.