Mum jailed for £96,000 tax credits fraud
Published: 27 Oct 2013 09:30
Reading Crown Court heard on Friday, October 18, how Lisa Lay, of Bouldish Farm Road, had told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that she was a single parent, allowing her to pocket nearly £96,000 in tax credits.
Mrs Lay, 47, a former civil servant, failed to disclose her husband’s income on her tax credits claims between 2003 and 2011, telling HMRC they had been separated since 1998.
After being arrested in November 2011, she told investigators that she had been living with her parents and her parents-in-law, but said she had never told her family she and her husband were no longer together.
However, HMRC managed to gather pictures of family holidays to disprove her claim, as well as proof of them living together at three addresses in Sunningdale and Ascot.
Following the case, John Cooper, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Lisa Lay told HMRC officers that her husband was living with relatives, but that she hadn’t told them or friends that she was separated. That was because her excuses were lies – she was married and living with her husband all the time.”
After initially denying the fraudulent claims she pleaded guilty on the first day of her trial at Reading Crown Court. Judge Angela Morris told her: “This was fraudulent from the outset. These benefits were not being used for necessities.
“Benefits are there for people who need them and not for going on holiday.
“People who choose to defraud the benefit system must be marked by an immediate custodial sentence.”
Bob Gaiger, a spokesman for HMRC, told the News: “Lisa Lay stole from taxpayers and abused a system designed to help those most in need of financial help. HMRC will bring to justice those involved in this type of crime.
“I strongly encourage anyone with information about people committing this type of fraud to call the National Benefit Fraud hotline on 0800 854440.”
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