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Hyndburn benefit cheat mum who netted £94k is jailed
A MOTHER-of-seven who cheated £94,000 of benefits and kept quiet about her partner moving in has been locked up for 22 weeks.
Burnley Crown Court heard drug taker Cleo Embley, 36, was caught out in the four-year scam after surveillance last spring, but claimed Paul Harwood, the employed father of six of her children, did not live there permanently.
The court heard Embley could have been entitled to almost £51,000 of benefits had she been ‘upfront’ with the authorities, but had still netted £43,000 from the public purse by her dishonesty.
Embley, who is still on handouts, is now supposed to repay the money but Judge Beverley Lunt said if she did, it would be from the cash the state is continuing to give her and added: “The taxpayer is going to pay it back.”
The defendant, of Bridge Street, Rishton, earlier admitted three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions and Hyndburn Council, between February 2008 and March 2012.
She sobbed as she was led away from the dock to start her sentence.
Gerald Jones, prosecuting, said Embley claimed income support, council tax benefits and housing benefits.
At the start of 2001, when she was a lone parent and had no partner living with her, she made a legitimate benefits claim, but it became fraudulent when she failed to notify her change in circumstances.
Her partner moved in and investigators carried out surveillance between January 4 and March 16, last year.
Embley said Mr Harwood stayed occasionally, but did not live there.
Mr Jones said over the four years, Embley was paid £76,584.54 in income support, £13,248.88 in housing benefit and £4,230.13 – a total of £94,063.11 to which she was not entitled. He said in that time, she would have been entitled to £50,974.
Mark Stuart, for Embley, said: “It has been a long- standing relationship, but there have been ons and offs. She accepts she’s in the wrong.”
Sentencing, Judge Lunt told Embley: “You weren’t driven by debt, you weren’t driven by financial need. In fact, you had the benefit of a partner who worked.”
The judge said it was money which should have gone to those who were ‘really and genuinely in need’.