A mother-of-four who lied about being a single mum and fraudulently claimed almost £100,000 in benefits has been sentenced.
Claire Finney, 41, claimed benefits on the basis that she was living alone in properties in Salford and Eccles between April 2014 and July 2019 and raising her four children.
In fact she was living with her husband, Joseph Perry, who was working and supporting her and the children.
As a result she was overpaid Tax Credits, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit by a total of £97,028.24.
Over the five years, Claire Finney made benefit claims from two addresses, one in Swindon Park Road, Salford and later, a house in Chelmer Way, Eccles. But records showed that her husband had owned the house in Salford since 2006.
She, Mr Perry and her children had holidays at 5-star resorts in Cyprus. When the Salford house was put up for sale in 2017, both her and Joseph Perry were joint vendors.
Claire Finney pleaded guilty to four offences of failing to disclose information to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Department of Work and Pensions and Salford City Council.
At Manchester Crown Court, she was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.
She has begun repaying in instalments the amounts she fraudulently claimed.
Senior Crown Prosecutor George Ward, of CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Fraud Unit said: “ Over the five year period covered by this investigation, Claire Finney had dozens of opportunities to tell the authorities the truth.
“Instead, on the claim forms and in phone calls to HMRC, the DWP and Salford Council, she continued to lie and said she was bringing up her children on her own.