A Tonypandy woman who defrauded the taxpayer of over £11,000 has been imprisoned following a hearing at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court.
Janine Bailey, aged 33 of Kenry Street, Tonypandy will serve a total of eight weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to committing a multiple benefit fraud.
A successful joint investigation by the Counter Fraud Team at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Department for Work and Pensions’ found that Bailey had been defrauding the benefit system since 2005 whilst living in Cardiff, Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
She failed to disclose relevant facts to the Department for Work and Pensions’ and the local authorities that she was working and that, during periods between 2005 and 2012 she was co-habiting her home with her partner.
She also continued to claim benefits from Cardiff City Council, even though she had actually moved to a house in neighbouring Rhondda Cynon Taf, fraudulently claiming two amounts of Housing Benefit.
The investigation began following a review of her claim by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Claims Assessment Team. They had received information, via data-matching with the Department for Work and Pensions that Bailey was in receipt of Working Tax Credit. However, to receive Working Tax Credit a person must be undertaking some form of work. Bailey had not informed the Council of any work, whatsoever.
It transpired from the investigation that Bailey had resided in three different local authority areas. Throughout this time she had worked for various employers and had co-habited with her partner. During interview, she admitted to having defrauded the Department for Work and Pensions and the three councils.
In total, she claimed £4,516 Income Support and £6,600 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit between November 2005 and March 2012 - a total loss to the public purse of £11,116.
She was charged with 12 counts of fraud and asked for seven additional offences to be taken into consideration.
Jailing Bailey, the Magistrates said due to the widespread, premeditated and lengthy offending they had no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence.
The case once again shows the dedication and expertise partnership agencies have as they continue their campaign against those who receive benefits they are not entitled to, ensuring the system remains robust and effective for those who really are eligible for assistance.
Nick Jones, Service Director for Operational Finance at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This outcome is the latest in a series of important and successful joint investigations carried out by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
“The Council hopes that this sends a strong warning to offenders that it is working proactively and will take action against those who commit benefit fraud. It also provides reassurance to the rest of the community that the Council will not tolerate benefit fraud.
“As well as working hard to target those who are claiming benefits illegally, the Council’s objective is to ensure every resident receives the level of support they are actually entitled to, particularly in these difficult financial times
“Cases such as these highlight how the Council is protecting public funds to ensure every penny is directed to those who most need and deserve financial assistance.”