Burnley benefits cheat scammed almost £10,000

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A mum-of-five benefits cheat received almost £10,000 claiming she lived alone – but was married, a court heard.

Marissa Waite got income support and housing benefit after telling the authorities she was unemployed with no money and had dependent children.

She kept quiet about the fact estranged partner Gareth Waite moved back in, Burnley magistrates were told.

The fraud was said to have netted her £9,280.80. Waite, whose five children are aged between one and 13, must now wear an ankle tag after she owned up to failing to notify her local council and the Department for Work and Pensions that her and Mr Waite were living together as husband and wife.

The 31-year-old, from Burnley, admitted dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances to the DWP, between November 6th, 2014 and December 22nd, 2015 and to Burnley Borough Council, between November 10th, 2014 and November 8th, 2015.

She was given a 12-week curfew, every day, between 10pm and 7am.

The defendant, who had no previous convictions. was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar told the hearing Waite claimed income support from April 2014 on the basis she lived alone, was unemployed, had four dependent children and had little or no savings or income. She also got housing benefit because of the claim.

Miss Akhtar alleged: “There is evidence Gareth Waite moved back into the property on November 6th, 2014.”

The prosecutor said the over-payment of income support was £4,151.30 and in housing benefit was £5,129.50.

Mr John Rusius, for Waite, told the court the defendant and Mr Waite were experiencing a lot of problems, struggled to cope, separated and a benefits claim was made.

He was living with friends and relatives up until the beginning of August when they got back together.

Waite’s father died about two weeks later and she fell into depression.

The solicitor continued: “She should have notified the Department they were back together but didn’t do so.

“She accepts there has been an over-payment.”

The solicitor added: “The family are in receipt of tax credits. She is truly sorry and remorseful she didn’t notify.

“She had other things on her mind.”