Benefits cheat stole £27,000 from the taxpayer while living with her partner

Benefits fraud
Benefits fraud
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A benefits fraudster falsely claimed nearly £27,000 after failing to say that her partner was living with her – for three years.

Michelle Francis, 40, of Aston Close, Aylesbury, who continued to claim income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months,

Aylesbury Vale District Council launched an investigation with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after it was discovered that Francis’s partner was living with her.

The probe confirmed that she had failed to declare her true circumstances between 2010 and 2013.

Francis was interviewed under caution at AVDC’s offices and was charged to appear before magistrates. She pleaded guilty to four counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances to obtain benefits.

She was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and an £80 victim surcharge.

She will also have to pay back the money which was stolen from the taxpayers.

Francis had fraudulently claimed £10,337 income support, £14,090 housing benefit and £2,420 council tax benefit, making a total overpayment of £26,847. AVDC and the DWP will pursue full recovery of the overpayment.

Members of the public can report benefits cheats in confidence online at www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/reportit or call 01296 585570.