Wife avoids jail over £22,000 benefits fraud

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A BENEFIT cheat who made almost £22,000 by failing to declare her husband was living with her has been spared jail.

Shirley Fairless was paid income support as well as housing and council tax benefit on the basis she lived alone.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard insurance certificates and other company documents proved her husband, who worked for G4S security firm, was sharing her home.

The court heard Fairless’ husband’s income would have affected her entitlement.

Susan Hirst, prosecuting, said: “Her claims were submitted on the basis she was living as a single person and had no income.

“The overpayment is £21,948.”

Fairless, 53, of Wallington Grove, South Shields, admitted two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances.

Miss Recorder Rowley sentenced her to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision.

The court heard Fairless was paying back what she owes out of her benefits.


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