Wales

Jail for Flintshire fraud 'single' mother

A Flintshire woman who claimed £63,000 in benefits while pretending to be a single mother has been jailed.

Mold Crown Court heard that Marianne Williams from Bagillt had been living with a partner for six years when she was caught out.

The court heard the payments helped feed a gambling addiction and cannabis habit.

She was given a 20-week prison sentence after admitting failing to notify benefit agencies of changes at home.

The court heard that 40-year-old Williams began making fraudulent claims for income support, housing and council tax benefits in 2004 when her then partner, Mark Francis, moved into her home.

The pair lived as husband and wife, the court was told, while Williams cared for her 19-year-old son who had Down's syndrome.

Investigation

But following an anonymous tip off, a joint probe was launched last year by benefit agency officials and Flintshire council.

Surveillance showed that Mr Kelly was living at Williams' address at Riverbank, Bagillt.

Checks with his employer, a loan company and a TV service provider also gave Williams' address as his home.

In court, Williams pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances to both the Department of Work and Pensions and Flintshire County Council.

Defence barrister, Gareth Roberts said Williams had been struggling to cope with a gambling addiction and cannabis habit, and was £20,000 in debt.

She has since separated from her partner.

But jailing her Judge Hughes said the benefit fraud was a large amount of money, by any standards.

"The reason why these offences are so serious is that they are easily committed and difficult and expensive to detect," he said.