Suspended jail term for benefit cheat

Published on: Tuesday, 14-October-2014

A Knowsley woman has been given a suspended jail term for falsely claiming more than £76,000 in benefits.

Stephanie Tomlinson falsely claimed Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Income Support between 2005 and 2012.

The 49 year-old declared that she did not have a partner, lived with her son and that her only income was from benefits.

However, an investigation by Knowsley Council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) found that she actually lived with her partner, who was in paid employment.

She pleaded guilty to four counts of making a false statement or declaration to obtain benefits.

The judge at Liverpool Crown Court sentenced Tomlinson, of Brandhearth Hey in Stockbridge Village, to an eight month custodial sentence, concurrent on each count, suspended for two years.

The Judge stated the custodial sentence would have been immediate other than for the fact that she would have been entitled to £30,000 in tax credits if she had made a proper claim, her extenuating family circumstances and that there was no evidence of her using the money to sustain a high level of living.

A spokesperson for Knowsley Council said: “It is unacceptable for people to cheat money out of our community.

“This sentence sends out the clear message that we will not allow people to claim money they are not entitled to.

“We will always thoroughly investigate any allegations of benefit fraud with our partners at DWP. Residents with information can contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 073 0532.

 “If any resident has a change in circumstances which may affect their benefit entitlement, they should contact the council immediately.”