Three Manchester benefit thieves who swindled more than £50,000 have been caught out by the council’s counter-fraud officers.
Madelene Jones, 61, of Oakford Avenue, Miles Platting, Michael Healey, 62, of Harding Street Ancoats, and Kelly Robinson, 24, of Greenbow Road, Newall Green, have all been charged by Manchester City Council for false claiming on benefits.
Fraudulently claiming benefits is a serious criminal offence and withholding information that affects your benefit claim is stealing and can lead to imprisonment.
Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources, Councillor Jeff Smith, said: “These three benefit cheats were stealing from the people of Manchester.
“I congratulate our dedicated counter-fraud officers for putting a stop to their criminal activities.”
Benefit thieves are pick-pocketing from law-abiding citizens in the Greater Manchester area who pay their taxes legally.
Ms Jones was convicted of claiming more than £17,000 in housing benefits, council tax benefits and income support.
After an anonymous tip-off, the Department for Work and Pensions as well as the City Council investigated into Ms Jones who was eventually prosecuted.
She was handed a ten-month prison sentence and a four-week electronic tagging order.
Michael Healey was given a 20-week suspended sentence, a six-month curfew and was charged with £250 in court costs for claiming more than £28,000 in housing and council tax benefits.
Mr Healey was caught after the council officers undertook a data matching exercise which allows counterfeit claims and payments to be identified however without investigation no assumption can be made as to whether it is benefit fraud.
In the case of Mr Healey, the data matching exercise proved to be worthwhile and detected his false fraudulent claims.
Kelly Robinson failed to announce that she was related to her landlord and received a benefit of £6,500.
After being reported to the national benefit fraud hotline by an anonymous caller, Ms Robinson pleaded guilty at the Manchester Magistrates Court.
She also was handed a three-month community order, as well as an electronic tagging order and she was instructed to pay £608.67 for court costs.
Anyone who knows of any potential suspects of benefit fraud should call 0800 783 9668.
Picture courtesy of Ian Britton with thanks.