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The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

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Woman who holidayed in Goa while claiming £134k benefits jailed for 27 months

25/07/2014

A woman who claimed £134,000 in benefits while holidaying in Goa was jailed for 27 months today (Friday, 25 July).

52-year-old Karen Trant, of Dartmouth, was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to dishonestly claiming benefits over a 13-year period.

Between August 1999 and April 2013, Karen Trant falsely claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit, employment support allowance, income support and disability allowance.

Despite claims that she needed continual supervision, could not walk outdoors in unfamiliar routes without guidance or supervision and being stressed by crowded places, she holidayed in Goa, India, paid for cosmetic surgery and enjoyed horse-riding and socialising in crowds.

After several holidays to this idyllic part of India, Karen Trant bought an apartment at the Highland Beach Resort in Candolim in 2004, which extended her stays by up to five months. Back in the UK, her false benefits claims continued.

The court heard that in total, Karen Trant falsely claimed £32,315.94 in Income Support, £8,134.15 in Employment Support Allowance, £29,807.40 in Disability Living Allowance and £64,478.51 in Housing & Council Tax Benefit.

Claire Busby, a lawyer with the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: "Karen Trant failed to notify authorities of cash from her divorce settlement in 1999, that she frequently holidayed in Goa and that, in 2004, she had bought an apartment there. Had she done so, she would not have been entitled to the benefits she claimed.

"The Karen Trant seen confidently riding a horse in the photographs seems a world away from the highly-dependent and anxiety-ridden individual she purported to be to justify her welfare benefits claims.

"This facade was completely undermined by her extravagant lifestyle, involving repeated lengthy trips to Goa and cosmetic surgery.

"The benefits system exists to support the most vulnerable in our society and Karen Trant had no entitlement to these benefits. She tried to conceal her wrongdoing, but was brought before the criminal courts and convicted by the jury."

Charges:
  • Karen Trant pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonest representation for obtaining benefit, contrary to section 111A(1)(A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.