A 27-YEAR-OLD woman who illegally claimed £25,866.90 in benefits has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Lyndsey Sutch, of Egerton, Tanhouse, admitted to failing to declare her circumstances had changed and that she was living with her employed partner when she appeared at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court.
Between June 2008 and January 2012, she was paid housing benefit of £10,682.88, council tax benefit of £3,118.65 and income support of £12,065.37 which she was not entitled to. She was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and a 12-month supervision order.
The case was one of three where legal action was taken by the Department of Work and Pensions in conjunction with West Lancashire Borough Council. Between them they falsely claimed a total of £56,453.17 and they were all sentenced at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court.
Cllr David Westley said: “These cases send out a firm message that benefit fraud is a serious crime and people who try to cheat the system will be dealt with by the courts.”
In one of the other cases Barbara Powell, 56, of Alderley, admitted to failing to declare her circumstances had changed and that since February 2008 she had been living with her employed husband.
She was overpaid housing benefit of £2,009.14, council tax benefit of £5,367.35 and a combination of income support and jobseekers allowance amounting to £14,447.13. She was given a 12-month community order of 100 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay £300 costs.
Karen Horrocks, aged 35, of Dyers Lane, Ormskirk, admitted to failing to declare that she had been living with her employed husband. Between July 2010 and January 2012, she was paid housing benefit of £8,037.78 and council tax benefit of £724.87 that she was not entitled to.
She was given a six-month community order, supervision order, and ordered to pay £85 costs. All three women must pay back the full amount of overpaid benefit that they have received.