Preston mum swindled more than £45,000 in benefits

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A Preston mum swindled more than £45,000 claiming to be a single parent when she had a partner living with her.

Maria Stanners, 28, made repeat claims for income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit, child tax credit and working tax creait on the basis she was raising her children alone.

But when investigators began looking into her claim it emerged she was not single, as she claimed, and was living with her partner at her home in Moira Crescent, Ribbleton.

Furthermore she had not declared her partner’s income, which would have affected her eligibility for the sums she received.

Stanners had signed declarations stating all the information she had provided was true to the best of her knowledge.

Between 2010 and 2013 she falsely claimed £10,413 of Income Support, £12,135 of Housing Benefit, £2,092 Council Tax Benefit and £21,882 in Child and Working Tax Credits.

She denied the offences at Preston Magistrates’ Court but later pleaded guilty on the day she was due to stand trial at the city’s crown court.

Recorder Kevin Grice handed her a nine month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered her to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Rosemary Phillips, a spokesman for HM Revenue and Customs spokesperson, said: “Stanners lied on numerous occasions to continue to receive benefits she wasn’t entitled to.”

Anyone with information relating to tax credit fraud to call the Benefits Anti-Fraud Helpline on 0800 854 440 in total confidence.”

In 2014 it was estimated benefit fraud led to an overpayment of £1.2bn nationally.

Where possible the money is claimed back through the civil recovery scheme.