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Woman made false claims while living in Corsham
10:19am Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
A woman claimed benefits as an unemployed single mother of four when she was living with her husband and they both worked.
Alison Earney, 35, who plundered more than £111,000 she was not entitled to, has been jailed for eight months.
She began making genuine claims after her lorry driver husband Gary left her in December 2002, but within a year they were back together.
She kept claiming income support and housing and council tax benefit until July 2010.
Marcus Davey, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that in September 2003 her husband returned to the family home.
But she kept claiming and, when they moved to Macie Drive in Corsham in 2007, she had to fill in new forms.
He told the court she again said she was a single mum so the benefits would continue to be paid.
“By February 2010 not only were they living together, but both worked for the same cleaning company,” he said.
Between September 2003 and July 2010 she received £111,424.17 she was not entitled to from the Department of Work and Pensions and the then Wiltshire County Council.
During the time she was on benefits, Mr Davey said she was under an obligation to inform the authorities of any change in her circumstance.
She also filled in forms to keep getting housing and council tax benefits and lied about living with her husband.
Mr Davey said she told investigators her husband would come to see the children and stay on the sofa ‘now and then’.
Earney, who now lives in Bristol, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstance and four of making a false representation to obtain benefits.
Mike Jeary, defending, said his client knew she was facing jail and had arranged for her four children, the youngest being 12-year-old twins and the oldest 15, to be cared for.
He said when her husband moved out she was alone but he started to come back for short periods. She knew she would lose benefit for six weeks if she told the authorities, by which time he could be gone.
After they reconciled she knew if she said anything she would have to explain how long he had been back, so chose to do nothing.