Mother-of-four denies benefit fraud charges

A HUNTINGDON mother claimed more than £50,000 by dishonestly claiming that the father of her four children was not living with her, a court heard this week. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied making dishonest claims for more than

A HUNTINGDON mother claimed more than £50,000 by dishonestly claiming that the father of her four children was not living with her, a court heard this week.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied making dishonest claims for more than £32,600 in income support between November 2001 and April 2004, and £16,500 housing benefit and nearly £2,400 in Council Tax benefit between November 1998 and May 2003.

The overpayments totalled £51,568, the judge at Peterborough Crown Court, Recorder Justin Rouse, was told.

Robert Rabe, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions and Huntingdonshire District Council, said the woman had left blank spaces on claims forms where she could have identified her partner on eight separate occasions.

But her partner's address on the birth certificates of all four children born during that period was the same as hers. He had registered his car at the same address. His employers had the same address for him. And he had registered a company there with him as a director and her as company secretary. A joint bank account was also registered to the same address.

Mr Rabe said that, when interviewed by fraud investigators, she had said the man stayed with her three or sometimes four nights a week.

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"Any time he did not spend there was because of business commitments outside the area. It is obvious that they were living as husband and wife. She should have listed him as her partner on each of the appropriate forms and whenever she was questioned and should have indicated to the DWP that he was living with her," Mr Rabe told the jury.

"But she knew it would have affected her benefits if she did."

The trial continues.

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