Northampton

Irchester benefit fraudster jailed for £82,000 claim

A benefit fraudster who claimed more than £80,000 over eight years has been jailed.

Angela Passfield, 53, of Irchester, admitted six counts of benefit fraud, at Northampton Crown Court.

Passfield told Wellingborough Council she lived alone at the Warren Close house, belonging to Edward Conroy and collected £81,918 in benefit.

However, she was actually married to Conroy. Passfield was sentenced to 10 months by Judge Michael Fowler.

He told her : "This was a large sum of money over a long period of time and was for no other purpose other than greed - having money which you weren't entitled."

Anonymous tip-off

Conroy, of Warren Close, was also jailed for six months after admitting perverting the course of justice.

The court heard Passfield claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit between 2003 and 2012, at the address in Warren Close.

An anonymous tip-off suggested Passfield and Conroy, who was fully employed, were living together as partners, and had been since Conroy bought the house in 2003.

The information was confirmed during an investigation by the council and the Department for Work and Pensions. Both Passfield and Conroy were interviewed under caution at Wellingborough Council's offices.

During his interview, Conroy denied he and Passfield were partners and later produced a rent book he claimed was from 2008, to indicate Passfield paid for the room and he was her landlord.

Council fraud investigators were suspicious of the rent book and contacted the publishers who revealed the book had not been published until 2011, meaning the entries he had filled in for rent payments were forged and had been written in an attempt to cover up her fraud.

Passfield had claimed £39,309.21 in income support, £36,514.01 in housing benefit and £6,095.27 in council tax benefit. Wellingborough Council said it would attempt to recover the money.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites