Crooked GMTV presenter must pay back £100,000
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal
A former breakfast show presenter who swindled over £70,000 in housing benefit has been ordered to pay back more than £100,000 to Westminster council.
Crooked Louise Port (pictured) was handed an 18-month suspended sentence in March for her crimes.
The 38-year-old, who lost her job as a presenter on GMTV in 2006 after refusing to work nights due to her epilepsy, was told by the judge he was sparing her from jail as an "act of mercy".
However, she has now been told she must pay back £106,000 - the £76,000 she stole plus interest and £15,000 in court costs.
Port wept yesterday at Southwark Crown Court as it was revealed that she helped herself to thousands of pounds in housing benefit whilst renting out property in London.
At her earlier trial, the crook said she committed the fraud to pay off her credit card bills.
Speaking yesterday, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "I must confess I find it very difficult to trust a word she says in terms of honesty.
"Of course she has had great difficulties in her life, but it is quite clear to me that she lied whenever it suited her to the jury with considerable front, and despite her sad personal problems the jury agreed."
Port now has six months to pay back the money - or she faces jail.
Back in February, the court was told that Port failed to declare that she was making over £1,000 a month from a flat she was renting out near Canary Wharf when she made her claim for housing benefit.
On top of the order to pay back the money and her suspended sentence, Port has previously been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.