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Linda Inseal, 49, altered totals to net £8,000
7:01pm Monday 27th September 2010 in Bankfoot
A skilled forger has today been jailed for netting more than £8,000 in a sophisticated housing benefit scam.
Linda Inseal, 49, used her criminal talent to make substantial alterations to cheques and laundered the money through her bank account.
Inseal, of Carr Street, Bankfoot, Bradford, admitted eight charges of fraud and one of entering into a money laundering agreement.
She was described by a judge at Bradford Crown Court as having “a dreadful record for dishonesty offences” and imprisoned for 12 months.
Prosecutor Louise Azmi told the court that the nine offences took place between February and June last year.
They involved cheques payable to Inseal and another woman.
Inseal upped one housing benefit cheque for £7.68 to more than £400 and paid it into Wibsey Cheque Exchange.
In all, the eight fraud offences totalled £8,459.
While on bail, she altered two more cheques from 56p to £556, the court heard.
Inseal was jailed for three years for forgery in 1997. She also had convictions for false accounting, handling stolen goods, deception and robbery.
Her barrister, Sarah Barlow, said she was a reformed heroin addict who had led an extremely hard life.
In the past, others had exploited her talent as a forger.
Inseal had expected to make about £5,000 for her part in the housing benefit fraud.
She had been out of trouble for six years but needed money to solve housing problems.
Jailing Inseal, Judge Peter Benson told her: “This was a very sophisticated piece of forgery that fooled virtually everybody to whom these cheques were presented.”