South East Wales

Blackwood boob job benefit fraudster must repay £23,000

Benefit fraudster Tammy Gunter Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Tammy Gunter claimed tax credits while working part-time in a shop and a garage

A fraudster who claimed £76,000 in benefits which she used to pay for a boob job and holidays to America with her husband must now repay £23,000.

Tammy Gunter, 41, told Caerphilly council she was single when she was in fact married to Neil Hart, 46.

Gunter and Hart, of Blackwood, lived a "lavish lifestyle" using the tax credits she claimed between 2007 and 2016, Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard.

A court has ordered her to repay £23,358 of the £76,008 claimed.

The couple spent some of the money on holidays to Las Vegas and Florida in 2011 and 2013 and prosecutor Nuhu Gobir said Gunter, who used her married name when dealing with public bodies, also travelled to eastern Europe to undergo cosmetic plastic surgery.

He added: "She stated that she was separated and was a single parent with two dependant children. Neil Hart lied about his address to assist Tammy Gunter with the application."

Image caption In 2017, Gunter was jailed for two years, while Hart was jailed for six months

The court heard that in 2014, Gunter sent a letter to Caerphilly council purporting to be on HMRC-headed paper.

The council became suspicious because it contained spelling errors and an investigation was launched, leading to the couple's arrest.

Gunter admitted being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtaining tax credits, forgery and four counts of fraud.

Byron Broadstock, defending Gunter, said the couple had a "tumultuous" relationship and many of the purchases were "often gestures in reconciliation".

He said the plastic surgery "wasn't simply for purely cosmetic reasons. It was psychological reasons".

Hart admitted encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, believing it would be committed.

Jeffrey Jones, defending, said: "He allowed himself to be used in that by making one gesture, in relation to one matter - his own address."

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