A benefits cheat who fraudulently claimed nearly £100,000 has been shamed on national television.
Dawn Wood, 37, was living on Westwood Street in Accrington when her crime was uncovered by a joint investigation between Hyndburn Council’s benefit fraud team and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
A BBC programme ‘Saints and Scroungers’ broadcast earlier this week spoke to council officers about the case and how her deception came to light.
Mum-of-three Wood was jailed for six months after fraudulently claiming around £66,000 in income support, just over £6,000 in council tax benefit and nearly £27,000 in housing benefit over a seven-year period.
She pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court last year to three counts of failing to notify of a change in her circumstances affecting her entitlement to the benefits.
Neil Osliffe, Hyndburn Council’s fraud manager, told the show that Wood’s actions came to light after an anonymous tip-off saying she was living with her partner who was in work.
He said: “We were aware of Miss Wood because we had a report about her going back to 2004 where, when she originally claimed with us.
“A tenancy agreement had been submitted by her to the benefits office but on that tenancy agreement was a gentleman’s name that had been scored out which was most peculiar.”
Surveillance was carried out at her home address on 20 different days and on 16 of those days her partner was seen leaving and entering the home.
When interviewed, Wood denied he had been living there and said she had a one-night stand with him in 2003.
However further checks of household bills also showed they were all in her partner’s name and a statement from their landlady confirmed they were a couple.
Mr Osliffe said it was the ‘largest fraud’ he dealt with at the council and the money will be recovered.