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  • "Smart move to represent herself instead of using legal aid.What worries me is how easy it appears to be to defraud the benefits system, and why it happens. We read about it all the time, and see regular programmes about it on TV. Perhaps the interviews and checks are not rigorous enough."
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Mum falsely claimed £9,000 in benefits

Mum falsely claimed £9,000 in benefits

Mum falsely claimed £9,000 in benefits

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

A MUM admitted cheating the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds by claiming benefits she had no right to.

Joanna Menzies was paid £9,384 she wasn’t eligible for because her working husband was living with her.

The 32-year-old had begun claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit for her and her three children in 2003.

But investigations last year revealed that her partner was living with her at their home in Tebourba Cottages, Station Road, Sway.

After a tip-off, checks showed that he had two vehicles and a bank account all registered to the address.

Menzies admitted to officials that her husband had been living with the family since April 2009, but she hadn’t declared it because of fears that losing the financial support would impact on her children.

Representing herself at Southampton Magistrates’ Court, she admitted three charges relating to fraudulent benefits claims.

She said: “I apologise for what’s happened – I’m going to pay it all back.

“I was worried about how I was going to support the children because he (my husband) was on a low income.”

She was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

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