Two benefit cheats netted more than £47,000 between them

The Bolton News: Bolton Crown Court Bolton Crown Court

TWO women who netted a total of more than £47,000 between them from cheating the benefits system have appeared in court.

Karen Robinson, aged 47, of Tennyson Road, Farnworth, failed to tell the authorities that her husband Paul Robinson was living with her from 2007 and continued to wrongly claim income support, jobseekers allowance, housing and council tax benefits for six years before she was caught.

At Bolton Magistrates Court she pleaded guilty to four offences of dishonestly failing to disclose information which meant she was paid £36,390 she was not entitled to.

District Judge James Prowse ruled that her crime was so serious that a judge at Bolton Crown Court will sentence her on April 4.

She was granted unconditional bail in the meantime.

In a separate case Judge Prowse heard how another benefits cheat claimed more than £10,000 she was not entitled to after failing to tell authorities that her partner had moved back in with her.

Donna Bradley pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting her right to income support, housing and council tax benefits.

Nicola Ormerod, prosecuting, told the court how the mum-of two made a legitimate benefit claim in 2010 after her relationship with Timothy James broke down.

But when the couple reunited in 2012 and he moved back into the family home she continued to claim the cash until she was caught at the end of last year.

Miss Ormerod said Mr James had a well paid job as a service engineer and 30-year-old Bradley, of Lenora Street, Deane, is now repaying the £10,782 she was overpaid.

Peter Leather, defending, told District Judge Prowse: “She feels ashamed at being here. She has lost her good name. I very much doubt the court will see this lady again.”

Judge Prowse ordered that reports about Bradley should be prepared prior to sentencing on March 17.

The prosecutions followed joint investigations by the Department of Work and Pensions and Bolton Council.

A council spokesman said: “The council is committed to protecting public finds and bringing benefit cheats to justice.

“Last year, we successfully prosecuted 33 benefit cheats for council tax benefit and housing benefit fraud and recovered more than £256,000 of council tax benefit and housing benefit which had been overpaid as a result of benefit fraud.

“Some of these were joint prosecutions working with our partners in the DWP, as the benefit cheats were not only stealing from the local authority but from the national benefit system as well.”

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