£14,000 benefits cheat caught out by Facebook profile

14,000 benefits cheat caught out by Facebook profile

14,000 benefits cheat caught out by Facebook profile

First published in News
Last updated
Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A MOTHER who falsely claimed £14,700 in benefits was caught out — by her own Facebook profile.

Victoria Cummings, aged 33, of Ferngove, Bury, claimed to be a struggling single parent when, in fact, she had gone on two all-inclusive holidays to Tunisia with her husband and children.

Bury Council investigators looked at the mother-of-two’s social networking pages after doubting that she had broken up with her husband. Her Facebook profile showed she was happily married.

Bury magistrates ordered Cummings to pay back the money and undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.

She had claimed housing benefit as a single parent since July, 2011, having signed a form claiming that, while her husband lived with her, they were separated.

Further investigations by council officers also revealed that, when she had claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit at an earlier stage, she had stated she was not living with the man.

Investigators found Cummings ran a joint bank account with her husband and his wages were being paid into it. A credit report showed she had applied for credit using details of their joint income and had stated she was married on the application.

The couple shared family holidays in the summer of 2011 and 2012 and they had booked to go again when investigators caught up with her in 2013.

All the trips were during the school holidays and cost at least £2,500 each.

When interviewed, Cummings denied the allegations and she deleted her Facebook profile.

But at Bury Magistrates court last week, she admitted five counts of benefit fraud, committed in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

She had claimed a total of £14,728 that she was not entitled to in housing benefit, council tax benefit and employment support allowance.

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