A BENEFITS fraudster swindled the taxpayer out of nearly £28,000 after failing to declare she had nearly the same amount in the bank and was making money from four rental properties.

Corinne Taylor, aged 64, formerly of Cwmbran, escaped an immediate prison sentence and intends to repay the cash, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Roger Griffiths said the defendant had falsely claimed employment support for five years between 2012 and 2017.

He told Judge Nicola Jones how Taylor claimed a total of £27,694.73 during that time after she “failed to say she was getting income from four rental properties and had £30,000 in the bank”.

Mr Griffiths added: “It was fraud from the outset.”

The defendant, now of Pembroke Dock, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to obtain benefit.

The prosecutor said she had no previous convictions.

Rosamund Rutter, mitigating, said her client was “remorseful” and told the court “she holds her hands up fully”.

The defendant’s barrister added: “She took early retirement and accepts what she did was wrong.”

Miss Rutter said there had been a delay in the case coming before the courts because Taylor had received “poor” legal advice from a London-based firm of solicitors advising her not to attend an initial Department for Work and Pensions interview.

She told the court how the defendant was suffering health difficulties – both mental and physical – and was the full-time carer for her mother who had dementia.

Judge Jones told Taylor: “You are 64 and this is the first time you have come before the crown court. You have no previous convictions whatsoever.”

She said that because of this and that she was “clearly someone capable of rehabilitation” she could suspend the prison sentence.

The judge said her offending did “cross the custody threshold”.

Taylor was jailed for eight months, suspended for eight months.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is due to take place on November 4 where the defendant is expected to repay the money after one of her properties is sold.

The details of the prosecution costs and victim surcharge she must pay are expected to be made on that date.