Benefit fraudster prosecuted for £20,000 swindle

A Worcester woman who falsely claimed over £20,000 in welfare support has been prosecuted.

Kirsty Uttley of Swallowfields, Lyppard-Kettleby received overpayments of £3,826.05 in income support, £4,394.15 in carer’s allowance and £12,358.98 in housing and council tax benefit.

The 41-year-old had claimed that she was a lone parent and didn't work. However, a joint investigation by Worcester City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that she actually had two employers and was living with her partner who was also working.

When first interviewed in May 2012, Uttley admitted failing to declare her working arrangements but denied living with her partner.

At that time, overpayments of benefits were calculated solely on the basis of her undisclosed work, as at that point there was insufficient evidence to prove the living together allegation. But further information was subsequently received which lead to the allegation being investigated further.

When interviewed again in October 2012, the crook continued to deny living with her partner. It was only when she was confronted with evidence of their wedding that she admitted they were married. However, she continued to deny that they lived together, stating that theirs was only a marriage "of convenience".

She finally confessed during a November 2012 interview that she and her husband had lived together from Christmas 2009 until they later separated in May 2012.

She yesterday pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly failing to report changes in her circumstances at Worcester Magistrates' Court.

She was sentenced to a nine-month Community Order with a Supervision Order attached, which she was encouraged to "engage with". Prosecutors for the DWP were awarded costs of £100.

Uttley will also have to repay the payments she illegally received in full.