Benefits fraudster mum earns £97,000 while on five-star vacations in Cyprus.
A BRAZEN benefits cheat who pocketed nearly £100,000 in handouts by posing as a single mother has avoided prison.
Claire Finney, 41, claimed to the government that she and her four children lived alone when she was actually living with her partner.
Her deception lasted five years, during which time she received support in the form of Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
She vacationed in five-star resorts in Cyprus during that time.
Her local authority and HMRC eventually caught up with the mother, who appeared in Manchester Crown Court yesterday.
Despite his condemnation of Finney’s behavior, Recorder of Manchester Judge Nicholas Dean QC gave her a suspended sentence, allowing her to walk free from court.
Finney was given a two-year suspension of his 12-month sentence in exchange for 180 hours of unpaid community service.
“Sometimes there is a stigma associated with people who claim benefits, mostly because of people like you who tar those who claim with the same brush,” the judge said.
“There are benefit cheats; 95% of those who claim aren’t.
“Once this type of crime starts, it’s impossible to stop – it snowballs until someone notices after being contacted.”
“These were public funds to which you were not entitled, and you are repaying your debt.”
“You have very young children who would be taken from your care and suffer; you would not suffer, so the sentence should be suspended.”
According to the Manchester Evening News, the defendant pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to disclose information to appropriate bodies when she was legally required to do so.
Prosecutor Eleanor Gleeson said Finney shared a house with Joseph Perry, who was said to be her partner, from April 2014 to July 2019.
The defendant stated she was a single parent in her initial claim for Tax Credits and failed to declare that she was living with Mr Perry at the time – this continued every tax year up to 20182019.
She admitted in an interview that she had never worked since claiming in 2009 and that she “inflated child care costs for financial gain” when she confirmed that every Tax Credit annual renewal claim was false because Mr Perry continued to live with her. She also admitted that she had never worked since claiming in 2009 and that she “inflated child care costs for financial gain” when she was interviewed.
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