A WINSFORD woman must pay back more than £15,000 after she swindled in a benefit fraud by failing to declare she was living with a partner.
Anna Foulkes, 26, appeared at Northwich Magistrates Court on Friday and was sentenced to 300 hours community services and ordered to pay £250 costs.
Foulkes, of Bedford Rise, must now pay back income support overpayments of £3,422, £10,146 in housing benefits and £1,745 council tax.
She was caught after a joint investigation between Vale Royal Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
She denied living together with her partner at an interview but it became clear she had been living with him from August 2005.
Cllr Keith Musgrave, is urging couples to check the rules surrounding cohabitation when claiming housing and council tax benefit.
He said: “If the evidence suggests that a couple are living together, we’ll bring a prosecution to reclaim the relevant funds.
“I’d urge anyone who is in a relationship and unsure about the rules to contact the council to avoid any potential prosecutions.”
For more advice, contact the council.