At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Parveen from Rochdale, who admitted benefit fraud charges pleaded not to be jailed saying her Pakistani ex-husband was a jailbird drug addict, her daughter had been in an abusive arranged marriage and claimed another was so poorly, she had check on her at night to establish “she is still breathing”.But to sobs from her three children in the public gallery Judge Jonathan Foster QC jailed Parveen for eight months and told her: “This is not the first time this has happened and the long and short of it is you haven’t learnt your lesson from last time.”Benefit fraud is a prevalent offence and people think they can get away with it because they will only get a slap on the wrist.”This money is intended for the provision of community services and paid for by every citizen like me and all the other people in court. You must know that not only from your conviction but also from your background. “I have been asked to look at your case with compassion and mercy. You say you were under financial pressure due to your husband who was a drug addict and a criminal. Your children visited him in prison when they were young – but that must have been the case then in 2004 and yet you still didn’t learn.”It’s said that short prison sentences don’t do any good to the offender – however one of the purposes of them is punishment and the purpose of that is not only punishment to the individual but the reduction of crime.”The public must know and the public would expect that someone who defrauded more than £79,000 would expect no less than an immediate prison sentence.”The most important thing is for you to realise and for the public to realise that these offences will be punished by immediate imprisonment, whatever the mitigation.”The court heard Parveen had started claiming benefits in 2000 over a string of medical complaints including angina, high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol and depression.In 2008 she got a job at the school – which helps pupils with learning difficulties – but failed to notify DWP that there had been a reduction in mobility restrictions and care needs.From Dec 21, 2007 to Sept 7, 2012 she made false representations in relation to Income Support, where she failed to disclose she was working and between September 2012 to October 2015 she pocketed Employment Support Allowance.From April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2013 she was working in relation to obtaining Council Tax. The fraud by failing to disclose information runs from April 1 2009 to March 21 2013 when she was working in relation to Housing Benefits. I hope the court will see the anguish it has caused her and also her daughterWilliam Staunton, defending A mother who stole almost £80,000 in welfare handouts has been condemned by a judge for taking money from “people like me”.Teaching assistant Maliha Parveen, 65, was already a convicted benefit cheat – having been freed by a court over a decade ago despite scrounging £12,000 from the taxpayer.But just three years after her conviction she began pocketing a new range of welfare payments including Income Support, Disability Living Allowance, Employment Allowance, Council Tax and Housing Benefits by falsely claiming she was out of work.She was caught after investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discovered she had been working at Redwood secondary school in Rochdale, Greater Manchester since 2008 and was previously a local authority civil servant.The total overpayment of benefits over an eight-year period between Dec 27, 2007 to Nov 2, 2015 amounted to £79,286.85.Inquiries revealed Parveen had been given a community order for her previous benefit fraud back in 2004. Maliha Parveen, 65, stole almost £80,000 in welfare handoutsCredit:ANTHONY MOSS/Cavendish Press Income Support fraudulently obtained was £13,852.75, Disability Living Allowance was £14,908.20, Employment Support Allowance was for £12,781, Council Tax benefits was for £2,424.97 and Housing Benefits totally £35,319.93.Julian Goode, prosecuting said: “Claims forms have tick box questions and she ticked ‘no’ to confirm she was not in employment.”Yet she was working for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council since 2004 and since September 2008 she was working as a teaching assistant at Redwood school which is for students with learning disabilities.”Between 2008 and 2009 she was working 10 hours a week and between October 2009 and September 2015 she was working 15 hours a week. She was on average £8.43 per hour.”The duration of the fraud was 409 weeks and four days. She was interviewed and accepted the claims were dishonest, claiming she did it due to the financial pressure she was under at the time.”In mitigation, defence counsel William Staunton said his client had passed British citizenship tests and her family were paying back the stolen money at £150 per week.He added: “Her family know that their father was a cruel and nasty individual and a complete criminal who became addicted to drugs. There were times when drug dealers came and go at her door and make threats.”Although their father was sent to Pakistan, their childhood would have been extremely difficult with a man who left drugs around.”I hope the court will see the anguish it has caused her and also her daughter – a lady that suffers from brittle asthma which is so chronic it’s almost untreatable.”Some night she gets up to check that she is still breathing. There are others entirely dependent on their mother. This money is intended for the provision of community services and paid for by every citizen like me and all the other people in courtJudge Jonathan Foster QC The duration of the fraud was 409 weeks and four days. She was interviewed and accepted the claims were dishonestJulian Goode, prosecuting “Her daughter found herself in an arranged marriage which turned out to be abusive and it was only found out when she wore makeup in broad daylight to hide the bruises. The mother intervened and supported because she wanted to protect her family which has a very tight bond.”As someone who is looking at the gates of custody, she knows the reality of the situation but I hope the court could exercise a degree of mercy in these circumstances. A lot has changed since then, her husband is now out of the equation.”The family know the position she is in but one of her family pointed out the fact they as children had to visit their father in custody, it was a deeply troubling time for them.”They would find it difficult going to see their mother in custody”One of the prisons recently rioted – were she to be sent to jail would she be leading the charge throwing herself about or would she be in her room regretting what she had done, writing a letter to one of her beloved children?”It’s something the whole family have looked at. One of them is a teacher, one works in a solicitors office and one is an account manager.”She has failed in the eyes of her family. She had the shame of being in a relationship with a man who was nearly spat at in the street. That shame he brought on the family she now feels she has contributed to all of that.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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