£100k Pontypool benefit cheat jailed
A WOMAN has been sentenced to a year in prison for fraudulently claiming more than £100,000 in benefits.
Tiffany Squires, 52, of Wentsland Crescent, Pontypool was found guilty of two counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances by a jury on August 9 at Merthyr Crown Court.
Recorder of Cardiff Judge Eleri Rees sitting at Cardiff Crown Court heard Squires had been overpaid a total of £102,361.61 in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit over five and a half years.
Squires had failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions she was living with her partner Leanne Griffiths.
The court heard Squires was prepared 'as best as she can be’ for a period of imprisonment, but that despite the problems Squires and Ms Griffiths are now closer than ever and have recently become engaged.
The Recorder said: “As we have heard, this totals more than £100,000 over a five and a half year period.
“The circumstances are that you were living in a partnership with Leanne Griffiths as if you were civil partners. The jury refuted what you said, that she was living there just a few nights a week.
“On September 25 an investigating officer, having received a report indicating you were living together, put the allegation to you, and you denied that was the state of affairs.
“You knew perfectly well what you were doing was wrong. But your claims were not fraudulent as the outset.”
Squires was sentenced to 12 months in prison and must serve half.
The court heard Squires has no regular income and no longer receives income support. but has agreed to pay back £5 a week of the housing and council tax benefits.
Speaking after the sentencing, a Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: "No one should think they can get away with benefit fraud. Our investigators have more powers than ever before to track fraudsters using a mixture of the latest technology and old-fashioned detective work.
“In addition to any sentence imposed by the court, they must also pay back all of the money they falsely obtained.
"Anyone who suspects someone is fraudulently claiming benefits can call our National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440. Calls are treated in total confidence."