Dudley Magistrates Court

Jennifer O’Carroll made false representations regarding her direct payment agreement, splashing the cash on shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

The 57-year-old also provided false information for a social housing application with Sandwell Council, claiming she was living with family when she actually lived in a home she owned.

O’Carroll, of Shepherds Fold, Stafford, who was formerly known as Jennifer Handley of West Bromwich at the time of the offences, was sentenced at Dudley Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to four offences.

She was handed a two-month curfew, between the hours of 6pm and 6am, and was ordered to pay £1,000 costs within 28 days.

The court heard how O’Carroll used direct payments to employ external personal assistants to provide care assistance. Instead of using the money for the correct purpose, she transferred money to family members and stated they were her carers.

This was against the rules as both family members lived with her for periods of time, and a personal assistant cannot be a close relative living in the same house unless in exceptional circumstances and with the express permission of the council.

She also submitted false timesheets and withdrawals which had no resemblance to what hours were claimed to be being worked.

O’Carroll transferred money to her personal accounts and was found to have spent direct payment money on high street shops, restaurants and other entertainment.

The council has since reclaimed £12,618 of direct payment money that had been paid out after a review found that the money was used for personal use.

The sum has since been repaid in full.

She also put in a fraudulent application for council housing. This was cancelled as soon as the facts came to light and she was not awarded a council tenancy.

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