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Aspiring costume designer from Highgate illegal claimed £20k in benefits fraud

PUBLISHED: 17:45 10 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:08 15 July 2014

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

Anna Bruce

An aspiring costume designer who worked on films including Disney’s box office hit Maleficent has been handed a community sentence after Haringey Council caught her illegally claiming nearly £20,000 in benefits.

Helen Beaumont, of Holmesdale Road, Highgate, appeared in court showing clear remorse for her actions and pleading guilty to fraud.

The 37-year-old, who is involved in charitable work with young people and the elderly, has a CV boasting minor roles on the Angelina Jolie hit movie, which she worked on for four weeks.

Beaumont’s career has spanned costume buying, supervising and design for a range of BBC and E4 shows, and work for the English National Opera and Royal Opera House.

She also assisted on videos for chart-topping musicians including Hot Chip, Scouting for Girls and Jarvis Cocker, and more than 40 TV adverts.

But a close relative told the Ham&High her income was very little, including many weeks at a time without work, and Beaumont had taken on low paid jobs to eek out her earnings including teaching English to foreign students.

However she also illegally claimed thousands in housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance between May 2009 and November 2012, uncovered during an investigation by the council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Beaumont did not disclose her work or savings of more than £16,000, and fraudulently claimed £13,482 in housing benefit and £6,465 in jobseeker’s allowance.

At Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today, she was sentenced to 200 hours community service after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud by failing to disclose capital at the earliest opportunity.

She has repaid the cash in full and the case was not serious enough to warrant a prison sentence.

Cllr Jason Arthur, cabinet member for resources, said: “Whatever your job, abusing the benefits system is an insult to the vast majority of families who play by the rules and we will not tolerate it.”

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