An Irchester woman, who was motivated by ‘greed’, has been jailed for 10 months for falsely claiming almost £82,000 in benefits over an eight year period.
Her partner at the time the fraud took place, Edward Conroy, was jailed for six months for attempting to pervert the cause of justice.
Angela Passfield, 53, began fraudulently claiming the benefits when she moved into a house in Warren Close, Irchester, in April 2003.
She began claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit in June 2003 and told the authorities that she was single and was renting the property from Conroy, who she said lived with his girlfriend in Bedford.
However, a subsequent investigation by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Wellingborough Borough Council discovered that Passfield and Conroy were in fact living in the property together as a couple.
Following the investigation Passfield admitted to officers from the DWP and the council that she had provided false information in the claims.
The fraudulent claims had begun in 2003 and continued until the investigation started in early 2012.
However, Northampton Crown Court heard on Wednesday, July 3, how Conroy, who is aged 50, had fabricated a fake rent book to try and show Passfield had been paying rent for many years. He provided it to the investigating officers.
But officers discovered it was fake when they noticed the book had been made in 2011, years after Conroy had claimed he had began writing the rent book.
Conroy was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
On passing sentence on Conroy, now of Wentworth Road, Finedon, Judge Michael Fowler said that while his role may not seem complex or professional because of his ‘stupidity’ which allowed investigators to spot the rent book was faked, it was in fact complex because of the lengths he went to to produce the book.
He added that a custodial sentence must be handed to Passfield for the sheer amount of money falsely claimed, and over the length of time it happened.
He said that Passfield had no reason to want to claim the money. He added: “The purpose would then, it seems, to be greed for money which you were not entitled to.”
Kevin Knight, fraud investigator for Wellingborough Borough Council, told the Telegraph after the sentencing that the investigation into Conroy and Passfield showed that the council took benefit fraud very seriously.
In total Passfield, now of Pinchmill Close, Bedford, had falsely claimed £39,309.21 in income support, £36,514.01 in housing benefit, and £6,095.27 in council tax benefit. She was sentenced for six counts of producing or furnishing a false document.
To see the interview with Mr Knight after the sentencing watch the video above.