20 Jan 2014

Benefit thieves jailed

A benefit-cheating couple who took luxury cruises and splashed out on personalised number plates while illegally claiming state support have been jailed. (h/t Dave)

Victoria Tracey and Andrew Kenny admitted swindling housing and income benefits of more than £55,000 by telling officials they were co-tenants rather than a family with children.

The couple told Liverpool City council Kenny was Tracey’s landlord in Gateacre and even fabricated false tenancy agreements, allowing them to swindle up to £1,200 a month for more than four years.

In reality, the long-standing couple were taking their two young children on luxury cruise holidays while state benefits were used to pay the mortgage on their home in Hathaway Road.

The pair, who could be seen crying throughout their hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, were sentenced to nine months in jail each.

Reginald Mills, prosecuting the case, said:
This was a joint enterprise. They have acted together to intentionally defraud money from the public purse in order to pay the mortgage on that house while maintaining the lifestyle that they were living. He [Kenny] initially denied that he was the parents of the children when asked. He denied it until it was pointed out to him that he had tattoos all over his body that detailed the names and dates of birth of the children, at which point he caved.
The court heard that Tracey was able to claim £35,894 from November 2008, while Kenny received payments totalling £28,145.

Defence barrister Phillip Tully said Tracey is a “respected member of the community” who takes full responsibility for her actions.

Yes, a respected thief!

“This is not someone who is a professional fraudster,” he said. She made a very foolish decision to become involved in this and she shows genuine remorse. She was a respected member of the community who was highly thought of by people and this was totally out of character.”

No it wasn't. What a lie! She'd been claiming since 2008.

Jailing the pair, Judge Robert Warnock said:
The fraud was straightforward. Over a period of four years you maintained the deception that you were not living in a common household. The best illustration of your greed and dishonesty is the use of defrauded public money to pay the remortgage on your property. It must be clearly understood that defrauding the state will necessarily result in a custodial sentence.”

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