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18 Aug 2014

Two generations of benefit fraudsters cheated £160k from the public purse

Two generations of benefit fraudsters cheated £160,000 in public funds. (h/t VNCounterFraud)

Businessman Denis Tracey, 64, appeared in the same dock as his son David and his partner Cheryl Patterson.

Denis Tracey’s daughter Victoria and her partner Andrew Kenny were also present, after serving nine months each for similar offences, to hear about confiscation proceedings against them.

Stuart Mills, prosecuting, said David Tracey, 36, and Cheryl Henwood, 33, pretended he was her landlord when they made claims for council tax and housing benefit but they were in a relationship and even had a son together.

Patterson also claimed income support, jobseekers allowance and tax credits which she was not allowed while living at their home on Macketts Lane, Woolton.

At one point Tracey even increased the “rent” she owed him so the council had to pay out more.

David Tracey tried to lie his way out of an interview saying they were “close friends” despite the fact there was evidence they had been on a £5,000 Royal Caribbean cruise together before coming clean and admitting they were together.

The total value of their false claims were £89,654.

They pleaded guilty to fraud offences related to council tax and housing tax benefits while Patterson also admitted further counts related to failure to notify a change in circumstances and claims for income support, council tax and housing benefits.

They were jailed for 12 months despite pleas that David Tracey would lose a good job and their three children would have to be looked after by his elderly parents.

Their’s was a virtual copycat case of David Tracey’s sister Victoria and her partner Andrew Kenny, who also lived on Macketts Lane and were convicted of a £55,000 benefit fraud which they used to fund a lavish lifestyle.

David Tracey’s father Denis, of Quickswood Green, Woolton, owned the houses that both couples lived in and was dishonestly receiving money from the council when he knew his daughter was not a single parent, and was receiving money from the council for his son’s property in error but failed to tell anyone.

The value of those frauds was £14,123 which he has now paid back.

He was told to pay a £1,500 fine and £500 costs.

Judge Robert Warnock told him: “My goodness you have found out the hard way what dishonesty can bring upon you and your family.”

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