Brit woman jailed after Facebook wedding pics expose her as benefit cheat

February 22nd, 2011 - 3:28 pm ICT by ANI  

Facebook London, Feb 22 (ANI): A woman in Britain, who claimed to be a single mom, has been jailed after wedding pictures she posted on Facebook exposed her as a benefit-cheat.

Hazel Cunningham, 47, posted pictures of her Barbados wedding on her Facebook page, and investigators from the local council viewed them.

They discovered that Cunningham, who said she was a single mother when she was in fact living with her husband, was fleecing the taxpayer of thousands of pounds in false benefits claims.

She wrongly claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit at the same time as enjoying holidays in Turkey up to three times a year and a luxury Caribbean wedding.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court in Kent heard she falsely claimed benefits amounting to an average of 170 pounds a week.

Cunningham, of Ashford, Kent, also failed to notify the authorities of her maternity pay from her employer.

She was sentenced to 120 days in prison after pleading guilty to four charges of making false statements and one of failing to notify a change in circumstance.

And she was ordered to repay the money, a total of just under 15,000 pounds.

She was also prosecuted in 2009 for failing to declare that she was working while claiming a total of 21,000 pounds in incapacity benefit, housing and council tax benefits.

“This case is another success for the council who work tirelessly to ensure that the honest taxpayers of the Ashford borough are not defrauded,” the Daily Mail quoted Peter Wood, the leader of Ashford Borough Council, which brought the prosecution, as saying.

“The message is clear: people who commit benefit fraud will be caught,” he stated. (ANI)

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