Showing posts with label single person fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label single person fraud. Show all posts

11 Feb 2017

Woman jailed for £32k tax credit fraud

A fraudster has been jailed for scamming £32,000 in handouts after falsely telling benefits bosses she had split from her husband.

Investigators found out Elizabeth Hughes had posted “he’s the bestest husband” while claiming to be a single mum.

Hughes told the Department for Work and Pensions she had broken up with husband Arthur in January 2010. She kept up her lie until 2013 when she told them they had reconciled.

But in reality, they had been living as husband and wife under the same roof the entire time – with Hughes raking in tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money over the three-year period.

Childminder Hughes claimed she had struggled with financial issues and used the cash to cover debts. But investigators found debits from her bank accounts to travel firms and Facebook images of her with her husband and children on foreign holidays.

Fiscal depute Vicki Bell told Dundee Sheriff Court: “There was also a post on Facebook saying he was ‘the bestest husband’ posted during the period of the claim that she was single. Her husband was interviewed and initially said they had separated in 2009 but only reconciled late in 2012. But at the end of the interview, he said they had only separated for three or four months in 2009.

“He admitted he knew the accused had made a single person’s tax credit claim.

“A total of £32,000 was overpaid and no money has been repaid.”

Hughes, 36, from Dundee, pled guilty to a charge under the Tax Credits Act. Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed her for eight months.


1 Apr 2014

Light sentence for £57k benefit fraud

A Chesterfield benefits cheat has been given 161 years to repay £57,405 – after keeping quiet about the new man in her life.

Mother of four Sandra Kelwick was ordered to obey a three-month curfew as punishment for the offences which emerged when civil servants were tipped off.

A court heard she has been told to return the cash at £13.70 a fortnight. But her solicitor Joe Harvey said: “She may be able to find employment to start to pay it back at a much more attractive rate.”

Kelwick, aged 50, admitted four counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances and two of making false statements to get benefit.

She was also put on probation and given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year at Derby Crown Court.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said Kelwick began claiming benefit in July 2000 when her partner left the home. But in December 2012, civil servants were told another man had moved in during November 2007. Checks showed he gave her address to his bank in 2007 and his employers were told of his location in 2011. His car’s insurance carried the address.

“Surveillance was undertaken and they saw him coming and going from the address. She said she had been his girlfriend for seven years but they didn’t live together,” said Miss Leonard.

Later Kelwick admitted he had moved in. When the offences ended, she had been wrongly paid £38,619 income support, £14,058 housing benefit and council tax benefit of £4,728.

Miss Leonard said Kelwick had never been in trouble before.

Judge Jonathan Gosling told her: “You stole over a long period of time almost £10,000 a year. You have lost your good name.”

The judge said he noted Kelwick had been ill, pleaded guilty promptly and the benefit claims were initially legitimate.

He added: “I hope your health improves so you can go back to work.” He ordered her to have five days of ‘employment training’ to help her get a job.

She had discussed her benefits with her new partner and he persuaded her to keep on claiming.

The judge estimated she could have legitimately received £8,000 benefits and added: “It is likely to be significantly more.”

31 Mar 2014

£100,000 benefit fraud couple try to hide their identities as they face jail

Mother of five Lesley Isobel Jones fiddled more than £108,000 in benefits while driving around in a BMW with a personalised number plate.

The 50 year old took her family on an all-inclusive holiday to Turkey and enjoyed breaks in Sharm el Sheikh and Spain while claiming income support, employment support, tax credits and council tax relief. She also bought a £27,000 luxury caravan berthed in a seaside holiday park.

Jones and her husband Thomas Adrian Jones, aged 52, were told they would go to jail, after a jury convicted them of fraud.

Thomas Jones had claimed that the relationship had ended when the couple split up during their wedding reception.

The fraudsters both tried to protect their identities by hiding their faces after their court appearance. Thomas Jones donned a mask as he left court, in an effort to hide from Evening Post cameras, while his wife pulled her hood across her face.

Swansea Crown Court heard that the couple told the authorities they had never lived together and Lesley Jones claimed benefits as a lone parent. She received a total of £108,325 over a 10 year period, before she was caught. The jury heard the couple managed to have twins — even though they claimed the marriage had never got off the ground.

And Thomas Jones had his Royal Mail wages sent to her address in Landore, Swansea. The TV licence was in his name, they had a joint bank account and he paid the household bills.

The jury heard that Lesley Jones may have got away with more, but Department for Work and Pensions records went back only to 2002. She had been claiming since 1996.

Thomas Jones told the jury he realised their marriage was a mistake on their wedding day in 2000. He said he walked out of the wedding reception and did not see his wife again for two weeks. He said he did not move in with her until 2011. But, said Paul Hobson, prosecuting, there was ample evidence the couple had lived together as man and wife throughout their marriage. And they only confessed to being man and wife when they knew an investigation was under way.

The jury heard that during one period examined by a financial expert Lesley Jones received £79,308 in benefits, which she claimed was her sole source of income. But during the same period she managed to spend £190,721. And knowing she was being investigated by fraud officers she sold her house to a relative and then claimed housing benefit to pay the rent. But she was turned down.

After unanimous verdicts of guilty were returned the jury were told that Thomas Jones had lost his job for stealing mail and was already under a suspended prison sentence. Lesley Thomas had previous convictions for theft and shoplifting.

Judge Keith Thomas said he would sentence the pair after probation officers had prepared reports into their backgrounds. But he told them:
These are offences that warrant sentences of immediate imprisonment. I will take some persuading that that would not be the proper outcome of the case.
He granted them bail meanwhile, but warned them “to be under no illusion. You must prepare for imprisonment.”

Judge Thomas instigated a Proceeds of Crime investigation to try and recover some of the money.

28 Mar 2014

No jail for long term £30k benefit thief

A benefit cheat from Partington was handed a suspended sentence after dishonestly obtaining more than £30,000. (h/t Dave)

Tracy Murray, 46, of Hampshire Road, was sentenced to 52 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, on March 25. She was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and will have to repay all the money she obtained through the fraud.

Miss Murray failed to declare that her partner was living with her and, as a result, was overpaid income support, housing and council tax benefit amounting to £30,632, between September 2007 and May 2013.

Trafford Council was alerted to the matter following an anonymous phone call.