11 Jul 2017

Couple in sneaky benefit fraud

A couple continued to claim benefits without declaring that one was working as a parcel delivery driver.

Blackburn magistrates heard Tracy Butcher received more than £6,000 carers allowance she wasn't entitled to. Her partner, Paul Robert Coia, received more than £20,000 in employment support allowance and housing benefit.

Coia, 47, and Butcher, 46, both from Blackburn, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefits.

Coia was sentenced to 52 weeks in prison suspended for 24 months and ordered to pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Butcher was made subject to community supervision for three months with a three months curfew between 8 pm and 8 am and ordered to pay £85 costs and £85 costs.

Philippa White, prosecuting, said Coia had a previous conviction for benefit fraud in 2006.

She said Butcher's employment had a direct impact on his claims.

"He said he was suffering from depression at the time and totally forgot to inform the local authority and the Department of Work and Pensions."

Ben Leech, defending, said there had been a lot of confusion on Butcher's part about what she was and was not allowed to earn and still claim.


He said he was depressed, and she got carer's allowance.

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