A BENEFIT fraudster who scammed taxpayers out of thousands has been jailed.
Denise Dyson - one half of a married couple who unlawfully acquired more than £45,000 between them - was jailed for nine months at Manchester Crown Court.
Dyson, of Newland Avenue, Pemberton, failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of her marriage to husband Terence in 2001 and that she was living with him. And between 2006 and 2011 she claimed income support as a single occupant plus Council Tax benefit from the council and was overpaid £22,000 in total.
Mrs Dyson did not inform her family that she was due in court - such was her confidence she would not receive a custodial sentence - and a missing persons report was filed in her name when she did not return home after her hearing, Greater Manchester Police confirmed.
Coun Ged Bretherton, cabinet member for corporate resources, praised the local authority’s fraud officers for bringing her to justice.
He said: “Wigan Council takes a tough stance on benefit fraud, as demonstrated in this case. I’d like to thank the DWP and our officers whose hard work helped to bring this case to court. Benefits are there for people who need them, who depend on them to live.
“They are not for those who think they can get away with fraudulently claiming money. Mrs Dyson found out the hard way and will, as a result of her crime, serve the next nine months in prison and pay all the money back.”
Dyson fooled authorities by claiming her benefits under her maiden name of Denise Anglesea. She had also received a previous conviction in 2010 for working while in receipt of benefits, unlawfully claiming more than £9,000, and received a 12-month Community Order.
Earlier this year Terence Dyson escaped a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to three theft offences. The 65-year-old stole £24,000 worth of plumbing equipment from Bryn-based Norstrom Group during his time as its divisional manager. He received a 10-month prison sentence suspended for a year, 200 hours’ unpaid work and was hit with a curfew.
His former boss, Tony Norstrom, described the sentence as laughable, an absolute joke and “showing two fingers to the community”.
Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: “Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer almost £1bn per year. This money is intended to help those most in need.”