A BENEFIT fraudster from Wigan who scammed her way to thousands of pounds has been ordered to pay back more than £25,000 of ill-gotten gains.
Denise Dyson, of Newland Avenue, Pemberton, appeared before Manchester Crown Court and must pay the money back within six months or face a 12-month jail term. The court at the proceeds of crime hearing heard that Dyson is now estranged from her husband who is also subject to a court order to pay back illegally-claimed money from a separate criminal trial.
Terence Dyson, who stole goods worth £24,000 from a Wigan company, was given a suspended sentence earlier this year. His time to pay back his gains has been extended to run concurrently with his wife’s while efforts are made to sell their home.
Mrs Dyson, who fooled authorities by claiming benefits under her maiden name of Anglesea, was caught after a joint effort by Wigan Council officers and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Coun Terry Halliwell, portfolio holder for corporate resources and customers at Wigan Council said: “Wigan Council takes benefit fraud very seriously, as demonstrated in Mrs Dyson’s case and the numerous others we’ve successfully prosecuted this year.
“Benefits are there for people who need them, who depend on them to live - not for those who think that they can get away with fraudulently claiming money.”
Dyson failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of her marriage in 2001 and that she was living with Terence. 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.
She was jailed for nine months in May but has since been released early from her sentence after serving around two months.
Such was her confidence she would not receive a custodial sentence, she did not tell her family she was due in court.
Relatives then filed a missing persons report in her name when she did not return home after her hearing, Greater Manchester Police confirmed.
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. The total for the confiscation order issued last week was £25,855.95.
Earlier this year, her husband escaped a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to three theft offences.
The 65-year-old stole 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.
A DWP spokesman said: “When people receive benefits from us they enter into a contract to tell us of any change in their circumstances. Deliberately not doing so is a crime and takes valuable funds from those who need them the most.”