Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 13:45 UK

Star's mother warned over fraud

Susan Katona
Susan Katona claimed she had little income

The mother of ex-singer and reality television star Kerry Katona has walked free from court but been warned against further benefit fraud offences.

Susan Katona, 48, of Dickinson Street, Warrington, Cheshire, admitted wrongly claiming income support and council tax benefit at an earlier hearing.

She had claimed that she had little income or capital despite having more than 46,000 in the bank.

Katona was given a conditional discharge at Runcorn Magistrates Court.

Under the terms of a conditional discharge an offender receives no punishment provided that no further offence is committed within a period set by the court.

Clinical depression

Katona had failed to notify the benefits office of a change of circumstances between July 2006 and March 2007.

The court had been told she had a fear of open spaces and also suffered from clinical depression.

Katona admitted two counts of benefits fraud from July 2006 to March last year.

She wrongly claimed income support and council tax benefit totalling 6,393, but the charges only covered a period which saw her keep 3,342.

Kerry Katona
The court heard that Susan Katona is estranged from her daughter Kerry

Mark Lever, prosecuting, said Katona, began claiming lawfully but did not notify the authorities when she got money from her daughter and from a publisher.

Referring to a pre-sentencing report and medical reports from Katona's doctor, John Morris, defending, said a falling out with her daughter had devastated the defendant.

He said: "She is estranged from her daughter and is receiving no further funds from that source.

"She wants to put this to bed and move on."

Sentencing her to an 18-month conditional discharge, district judge Bridget Knight said: "I note that you suffer from depression and are receiving medication for that.

"Leaving your house to come to court must have been a huge step - I hope you have broken the back of what's been keeping you inside for the last two years and some good can come out of it."




SEE ALSO
Katona's mother admits tax fraud
19 May 08 |  Manchester
Katona CCTV scoured after robbery
17 Jul 07 |  Manchester
Former pop star's turbulent life
16 Jul 07 |  Entertainment

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