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Mum who swindled £75,000 in benefits ordered to pay back £23,000

The court was told Tammy Gunter lived a lavish lifestyle. Credit: Wales News

A mum who swindled more than £75,000 benefits for cosmetic surgery and luxury American holidays has been ordered to pay back more than £23,000.

Tammy Gunter, 41, was jailed for wrongly claiming tax credits by saying she was single - when she was secretly married to the father of her two children.

A court heard Gunter and her husband Neil Hart, 46, lived a "lavish" lifestyle after fiddling from taxpayers money.

And Gunter has now been ordered to pay back £23,358.43p after a proceeds of crime hearing at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Tammy Gunter was ordered to payback some of the money. Credit: Wales news

At an earlier sentencing hearing the court was told Gunter was granted tax credits by saying she was a single mum - and also made false claims for student finance and a £2,000 NHS bursary to train as a nurse.

The couple splurged the money on holidays to Vegas and Florida in 2011 and 2013 - and took out a $30,000 loan for a holiday home in the US.

Gunter was also said to have travelled to Eastern Europe to undergo cosmetic surgery.

The court heard that in 2014 Gunter she sent a letter to Caerphilly County Borough Council purporting to be on HMRC-headed paper.

But council officials became suspicious because it had a number of spelling errors.

The DWP, HMRC and the HS Counter Fraud Service Wales began a joint investigation in January 2015 and Gunter and Hart were arrested.

Byron Broadstock, defending Gunter, of Blackwood, Gwent said the couple had a "tumultous" relationship.

Gunter was jailed for two years, while her husband was jailed for six months.

Judge Peter Heywood told the couple: "That fraud occurred over a significant period of time. There was a degree of sophistication and planning involved."