Leeds benefits cheat in £60,000 fraud

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A WOMAN lied about her marital status in order to make illegal claims for almost £60,000 in benefits.

Linda Philllips, 61, lied to authorities that she was single to make false claims for tax credits, housing and council tax benefit for five years

Leeds Crown Court heard that throughout that period, between 2010 and 2015, Phillip’s husband Steven lived with her. The scam came to light after a tip-off that Phillips’s husband was in their home while she was out at work.

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said Phillips filled in official forms on a number of occasions but failed to complete the section which referred to her having a partner.

It was later discovered that her husband had the same address listed with financial institutions and had her listed as his next of kin with his employer. Over the period of offending Phillips claimed £39,115 in tax credits and £19,810 in housing and council tax benefits. Phillips pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud. She has a similar conviction dating back to 2007. Phillips, of Sunnyview Terrace, Beeston, had no legal representation in court but said she was sorry for what she had done when asked to comment.

A probation officer told the court that Phillips was a carer for her two grandchildren.

The officer said Phillips had described her relationship with her husband as “unpredictable” and she was often unsure how long he would stay at home with her.

Phillips was given an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

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