22 Jan 2014

"Single" woman on benefits was co-habiting

A benefit cheat who failed to disclose she was living with her husband has been given a suspended prison sentence.

June Lowrie, aged 58, previously known as June Maginess, from Runcorn, admitted three benefit fraud offences, resulting in an overpayment of £26,003, from 2009 to 2011.

Runcorn Magistrates said that they considered this to be a significant fraud, over a long period of time and a large amount of money was involved.

They felt that the matter crossed the custody threshold and imposed a 16-week concurrent custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Lowrie had been receiving housing benefit and council tax benefit, claiming she was living alone on income support.

In November, 2011, she notified the council that she no longer wished to make the benefit claims as her partner, William Lowrie, had moved into her home.

Her case was investigated in 2012 after allegations that she had married her partner in September, 2011.

When interviewed under caution, Lowrie admitted they were husband and wife but denied living with him beforehand.

The Department for Work and Pensions determined Lowrie was not entitled to income support since November, 2004, as she had been sharing a home with her partner as a joint household since then.

Lowrie was ordered to pay £85 mandatory victim surcharge and £150 towards the council’s costs.

Mr Lowrie was also given 12 month supervision order by magistrates on January 14.

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