A swindler who conned grieving pet owners out of thousands of pounds, has been ordered to pay back more than £75,000.
Heartless Emma Bent pocketed cash given to her to give dogs and cats a proper cremation – then dumped their bodies.
When she was found out, police calculated her earnings as £88,000 – but she claimed she only had £3,100, which she was ordered to pay to the court.
The 42-year-old was jailed for two-and-half-years in February 2016 after police reopened an investigation after it emerged Bent, formerly of Heage but now of Steep Turnpike, Matlock, owned land she had not declared.
Now, following a hearing at Derby Crown Court, she has been told she has just three months to pay the £75,806.41 or face another jail term.
Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: “It is right to say that previously £3,100 was the available amount to be paid back.
“But based on a statement it is now accepted that the information given was false.
“The benefit now declared is £75,806.41 and the available amount is the same figure.
“The compensation will be paid to the Department of Work and Pensions - £33,449.48; Amber Valley Borough Council – 32,478.47; and Derbyshire Dales District Council - £9,878.46.
“You have three months to pay.”
At the February 2016 hearing, Derby Crown Court heard that after discovering Bent was supposed to own land, Detective Constable Alastair Murray unearthed a web of lies the defendant had told over the years to hide the fact she owned property and was earning, so that she could leach more than £90,000 from the public purse between 2004 and 2012.
Her properties had been put in the name of her mother, Sonia Lomas, and also some of her housing benefit was transferred into Lomas’s bank account.
In court, Bent admitted fraudulently claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit; forging a rent book, a letter and a tenancy agreement; concealing criminal property and perverting the course of justice.
Sentencing Bent at the time, Judge Shant QC said: “You are, or certainly have been in the past, a thoroughly dishonest young woman.
For a long period of time you obtained benefits that you were not entitled to.”
Grace Hale prosecuting at the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing this week said land Bent owns in Starkhomes, near Matlock, and 75 per cent of the house where she lives in Steep Turnpike.
She said the other 25 per cent is owned by her husband, Nigel Bent.
- This story first appeared in the Derby Telegraph