Mum jailed over £32,000 benefit fraud

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A MUM who ripped off the taxpayer to the tune of £32,000 has been jailed for six months.

Mother-of-three Claire Chapplow filled in two benefits forms in 2009 saying she lived alone, despite having married a few months before, Durham Crown Court heard.

“She wrongly claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit, income support and jobseekers’ allowance,” said Adam Mugliston, prosecuting.

“An investigation was started in 2012 after an anonymous tip-off.

“When interviewed, Chapplow denied her husband had been living with her.”

Chapplow, 28, of Third Avenue, Chester-le-Street, admitted two charges of benefits fraud

Stuart Graham, mitigating, said: “The regulations are very difficult for claimants to understand.

“It is one thing for the children to read in the local paper their mother has been falsely claiming benefits, but quite another to read she’s gone to prison.”

Jailing Chapplow, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “You lied on the forms, and you lied again when interviewed by the police. If every benefit claimant behaved as you did, the country would be in a terrible state.”