14 Apr 2015

Mother lied about her husband's employment

A mother of two has avoided jailed after fraudulently claiming more than £19,000 in benefits. (h/t A Reader)

Lori Marriott, 23, told the Department for Work and Pensions and Cheshire East Council her husband was not working when he was.

As a result she was overpaid housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax support.

The fraud, which stretched over three years, was discovered when the council ‘data matched’ information Marriott had given.

Marriott, from Wilmslow, admitted two charges of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security benefit, and one charge of failing to give notice of a change affecting entitlement to council tax reduction.

She was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and a community order with supervision.

Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court heard that between 2009 and 2011 Marriott correctly advised the council of changes to her circumstances when her husband who was then her boyfriend began living with her.

The court heard that the couple were in and out of work during that time.

Then in July 2011 Marriott stopped telling the council the truth about his earnings, prosecutors told the court.

As a result Marriott falsely claimed housing benefit between July 25, 2011, and June 22, 2014, council tax benefit between July 25, 2011, and March 31, 2013, and council tax support between April 1, 2013, and July 9, 2014.

Aoife Ryan, prosecuting on behalf of the council, said: “In June 2014 as part of a data matching process it was discovered that her husband had been in paid employment through a number of companies which were not declared to the council. Further investigation found two undeclared bank accounts in his name.”

The court heard that the total fraud was for £19,301 and include £16,402 housing benefit, £1,743 in council tax benefit, and £1,156 in council tax support benefit.

A report from probation services found Marriott had been ‘kept in the dark’ by her husband over his income.

Raj Chopra, defending, said: “Her husband never told her what he earned and just gave her £50 housekeeping. She should have been proactive.”

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