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19 Dec 2017

Pensioner in £50k benefit fraud

A Swansea pensioner who claimed her husband left home three days after they moved into a new house went on to cohabit with him for eight years and fraudulently claim £50,000 in benefits, a court has heard.

Audrey Jean Davies pocketed the money in pension credits, and housing and council tax benefits over that period.

A judge told the 77-year-old benefit fraud was a serious matter because people claiming money they weren’t entitled to meant other people went short.

Ieaun Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that three days after they moved to their Penlan house Davies said her husband left. Davies made a claim for single person benefits but at some stage her husband moved back - the barrister said investigators were able to prove cohabitation between 2008 and 2014.

During interviews she denied cohabiting, but said the couple, who married in 1977, had remained friends after the split and she had allowed mail to be delivered to her address.

Davies had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances when she appeared in court for sentencing.

In total she fraudulently claimed some £31,793.28 in pension credits, £16,176.19 in housing benefits, and £1,706.20 in council tax benefits. The court heard she was paying the money back at the rate of £188 per month - the money being deducted from benefits she receives.

Craig Davies, for the defendant, said the claims had initially been legitimate, but that she failed to declare the fact the couple had reconciled. He added that she had a range of health problems.

Judge Keith Thomas told Davies she had defrauded the authorities out of almost £50,000.

He said: “These offences are serious because if people take money they are not entitled to, other people go short.”

For each of the three offences Davies was sentenced to eight months in prison, the sentences to run concurrently - at the same time - making a total of eight months, and suspended for 18 months.

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