Pregnant benefit cheat fined by court

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A PREGNANT woman who cheated the benefits system out of more than £14,000 has been ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

Jenny Ashby, 23, who used to live in Abbey Street, Rugby, pleaded guilty to three counts of claiming housing benefit, income support and council tax benefit from November 2008 to May 2010, while claiming she lived alone.

Rugby Magistrates heard that throughout the period of the claim, her partner - who was working - lived with her.

In support of her claim, she also supplied a forged rental agreement.

The fraud came to light after her partner was prosecuted by the council for an unrelated offence and gave his address in court as the one he shared with her.

After the investigation team started their investigation they moved to Morecambe. She was tracked down by the benefits investigations team.

Her defence claimed that she was ‘naive’ and believed she didn’t have to declare her partner was living with her as he worked away five days a week.

As well as the 180 hours unpaid work, magistrates also ordered Ashby to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Cllr David Wright from Rugby Borough Council said: “We take a hard line against anyone who falsely claims benefits. Wherever you are and wherever you move to we will find you.”