Couple caught in £15k benefit fraud

Echo: Couple caught in £15k benefit fraud Couple caught in £15k benefit fraud

A BENEFIT fraudster wrongly claimed more than £15,000 after failing to tell authorities her cage fighting boyfriend had moved into her council house.

Claire Drury, 30, and her partner Colin McDiarmaid, 46, of Sweyne Avenue, Westcliff, worked together so Drury could claim thousands of pounds in employment support, jobseekers allowance and housing and council tax benefits she wasn’t entitled to.

Drury failed to tell Southend Council that McDiarmaid had moved into her property, in Windemere Road, so received £6,562.78 in housing benefit between May 2010 and June 2012, and £1,688.63 in council tax benefit between May 2010 and July 2012.

She also failed to tell them McDiarmaid was a self employed carpet fitter and a cafe fighter for Ultimate Warrior Limited.

Southend Magistrates’ Court heard the couple had an “on-off”

relationship.

A lengthy investigation by Southend Council also found she was handed £4,212.40 in employment support allowance and £3,056.65 in jobseeker allowance, which she was not entitled to.

At a hearing at Southend Magistrates’ Court, Drury admitted four counts of money laundering – three of cashing cheques worth £702.27 in August, September and October 2011, and one of cashing a cheque of £40.10 on October 2012.

She also admitted two counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances, and three counts of making dishonest representations to obtain benefit.

Meanwhile, McDiarmaid admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to give prompt notice of change of circumstances to obtain benefits, between May 2010 and July 2012.

They were both sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

They also both had to pay £206.03 costs and £80 victim surcharge.

McDiarmaid was already subject to a suspended sentence and his latest sentence will run consecutively.

He was also ordered to go on a thinking skills programme.

Southend Council’s corporate director for corporate services, Sally Holland, said: “Benefits are for those in genuine need. Benefit fraud is wrong, can have an impact on council services and is something we will always investigate as we have a duty to protect public funds.

“We take any attempt to abuse the benefits system very seriously and those who do flout the system may find themselves in court facing a fine, repayment and possibly imprisonment.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:45pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Minceir. says...

Those sentences will teach them a good lesson.
Those sentences will teach them a good lesson. Minceir.
  • Score: -4

7:13pm Mon 9 Jun 14

bungies says...

They've taken £15000 and have to do 180 hours of unpaid work.
UNPAID? it's equivalent to a rate of £80 hour!
Nice work if you can get it!
I thought the idea of a suspended sentence means that if you re-offend during that period you then go to jail - but seems not, you go to school...
They've taken £15000 and have to do 180 hours of unpaid work. UNPAID? it's equivalent to a rate of £80 hour! Nice work if you can get it! I thought the idea of a suspended sentence means that if you re-offend during that period you then go to jail - but seems not, you go to school... bungies
  • Score: 21

7:30pm Mon 9 Jun 14

LightningJaques1 says...

Cafe fighter? Hmm espresso or latte? Only one way to find out....FIGHT!
Cafe fighter? Hmm espresso or latte? Only one way to find out....FIGHT! LightningJaques1
  • Score: 29

7:55pm Mon 9 Jun 14

supermadmax says...

They will suspend their benefits now, have to get a real job. Lazy cow.
They will suspend their benefits now, have to get a real job. Lazy cow. supermadmax
  • Score: 13

8:11pm Mon 9 Jun 14

the25man says...

Go get em
Go get em the25man
  • Score: 8

10:31pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Mikkel1 says...

One of our now EX-neighbours claimed to be disabled and was often seen with callipers to walk until recently, when he walked not only without them, but pretty fast as well, and Twice. Pity they failed to tell anyone they were even moving, as I am sure SOMEBODY would have reported him. They moved away without telling any of the neighbours they were even going. It was Only when the removal van turned up, the neighbourhood realised what was going on.
One of our now EX-neighbours claimed to be disabled and was often seen with callipers to walk until recently, when he walked not only without them, but pretty fast as well, and Twice. Pity they failed to tell anyone they were even moving, as I am sure SOMEBODY would have reported him. They moved away without telling any of the neighbours they were even going. It was Only when the removal van turned up, the neighbourhood realised what was going on. Mikkel1
  • Score: 4

12:14am Tue 10 Jun 14

BasildonDond says...

Commit fraud to the tune of over £15k and only pay back £286.03 !! And the cage/cafe fighter has to attend a 'thinking skills programme'. wtf, is that supposed to be a deterrent ?
Commit fraud to the tune of over £15k and only pay back £286.03 !! And the cage/cafe fighter has to attend a 'thinking skills programme'. wtf, is that supposed to be a deterrent ? BasildonDond
  • Score: 12

7:23am Tue 10 Jun 14

whateverhappened says...

Again that fact people try it on doesn't suprise me...but the amounts people (rightly or wrongly) are handed out under our welfare system is shocking and needs sorting out urgently.
Again that fact people try it on doesn't suprise me...but the amounts people (rightly or wrongly) are handed out under our welfare system is shocking and needs sorting out urgently. whateverhappened
  • Score: 7

4:30pm Tue 10 Jun 14

born and raised criminal says...

BasildonDond wrote:
Commit fraud to the tune of over £15k and only pay back £286.03 !! And the cage/cafe fighter has to attend a 'thinking skills programme'. wtf, is that supposed to be a deterrent ?
If you can get away with it, why the fuuck not.
[quote][p][bold]BasildonDond[/bold] wrote: Commit fraud to the tune of over £15k and only pay back £286.03 !! And the cage/cafe fighter has to attend a 'thinking skills programme'. wtf, is that supposed to be a deterrent ?[/p][/quote]If you can get away with it, why the fuuck not. born and raised criminal
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree