A couple of Knowsley benefit fraudsters who swindled thousands of pounds have been ordered to pay back the money they owe - or else face jail. (h/t Dave)
Edward Durkin, 45, and his partner Joan Bennett, 42, pleaded guilty to offences associated with false housing benefit and council tax benefit claims over a period of eight years.
Mr Durkin also pleaded guilty to money laundering offences since the false benefit was paid into a bank account in his name.
He had claimed to be the landlord of a property in Thistley Hey Road, Kirkby , where Joan Bennett lived. But an investigation by Knowsley council found the couple had been living together at the address.
A financial investigation also found that between them, the couple had sufficient assets to be able to repay the money that had been falsely claimed.
At a confiscation hearing a judge at Liverpool Crown Court agreed that both Durkin and Bennett had benefitted from their criminal conduct and awarded a Confiscation Order of £20,660.32 against Durkin and £4,850.32 against Bennett with a direction that any contribution by one defendant will be taken off the amount owed by the other.
Both have been given three months to repay the full amount to Knowsley council or face imprisonment and still be required to repay the money.