Updated: Sunday, 24th June 2018 @ 7:52am

Greater Manchester married benefit cheat jailed after swindling £30,000 – by pretending to be single

Greater Manchester married benefit cheat jailed after swindling £30,000 – by pretending to be single

| By MM staff

A Greater Manchester benefit cheat has been jailed after scrounging almost £30,000 in benefits over six years by claiming single person tax allowance – when she was married all along.

Julie Howard 43, of Seascale Walk, Middleton, used her maiden name Morrow to claim £26,249.83 in single person council tax and housing benefit discounts as well as income support for six years.

Police found that Howard was actually married and living with her husband David Howard, after fraud officers from the Council were given an anonymous tip-off.

She was jailed on Tuesday at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates Court.

Councillor Farooq Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Finance at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “There is no excuse for continuing to collect money that you are not entitled to.

“We are taking a very strong line against benefit cheats and will continue to prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law.”

Officers discovered a marriage certificate registered to Howard, as well as details of her husband’s employment evidencing that she had financial support.

The case was brought to Bury & Rochdale Magistrates Court where she pleaded guilty to making six false statements to Rochdale Borough Council and Department for Work and Pensions.

Howard, who has voluntarily started to repay back money owed, was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and must pay £500 costs.

Suspected benefit cheating can be reported to Rochdale Borough Council www.rochdale.gov.uk/benefits.

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