Hazel Cunningham caught cheating because of Facebook

February 22nd, 2011 - 8:48 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

London, Feb 22 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A benefits cheat has been jailed 120 days after it was realized that she was not single as she claimed.

47-year-old Hazel Cunningham was receiving £170 in benefits every week because she filed that she was a single mother. According to the prosecutors, investigators only managed to detect the fraud when they found Hazel’s wedding pictures on her Facebook page.

Investigators told the court that the woman spent the money that she received holidaying around the world. She went to Turkey, Kenya and had a wedding in the Caribbean. Hazel pleaded guilty to benefits fraud and she was subsequently sentenced on her own plea.

According to court documents, Hazel recently got married to Paul and her employer has been paying her maternity leave as well. She has been ordered by the court to refund the £15,000 that she falsely received in benefits.

Benefits fraud is rampant in the United States and the United Kingdom. Officials in the United Kingdom say they have come up with ways to track false claims and that includes the use of social networking sites like Facebook and others where people unwittingly tell their whole life story.

A spokesperson of the Ashford Council told reporters that, “Our investigators use Facebook as a routine tool when looking at someone’s claim that they are single and not married.”

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