27 Jun 2014

Nasty £86k welfare fraud brings suspended sentence

A Partington woman who illegally obtained nearly £90,000 in benefits over a 10 year period has been sentenced to a nine month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

Susan Underwood, 60, had pleaded guilty to five charges of making false statements and failing to report a change in her circumstances at an earlier hearing.

As well as the suspended sentence, Miss Underwood must also repay all the £86,621 she falsely claimed from the Department for Work and Pensions and Trafford Council and comply with a two-month curfew.

Big deal.

She had initially claimed housing and council tax benefit in September 1999 after coming out of full time employment.

She then claimed income support, job seekers allowance and employment support allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions on the basis she was a single person.

She failed to declare that she had begun living with her partner, who she married in September 2002 and subsequently purchased a marital home with.

This led to Miss Underwood being overpaid benefits between September 2002 and December 2012.

In addition to the identified benefit offences, the investigation also uncovered the fact that Miss Underwood was illegally subletting the address she was actually claiming from at Gladstone Road, Urmston, to her son.

The investigation findings assisted the landlords, Moss Care Housing Association, to recover the property from her.

Council leader Sean Anstee said “The council welcomes this sentence as it reinforces the fact that people who commit benefit fraud will face prosecution as the council and its partners work together to bring perpetrators to justice. Again, I would encourage anyone who is claiming benefits to make sure they tell us of any changes in their circumstances so that we can ensure they continue receiving the benefits they are entitled to."

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