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Skipton mum falsely claimed £6,000 in benefits
9:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A young mother was taking foreign holidays and driving around in an Audi A3 while claiming a string of benefits, Skipton magistrates were told.
At the same time, Amy Howsen’s partner Joseph Butler, with whom she lived in Otley Road, Skipton, had been earning £69,000.
Howsen had made false claims to get income support, employment support allowance and council tax benefit, having declared that she had no partner and lived alone.
The payment amounted to just over £6,000.
Lisa Shepherd, prosecuting for Craven District Council, said: “It might be too far to say it was a lavish lifestyle, but this was someone who didn’t have to worry about money. She had an Audi registered in her name, she enjoyed meals out and foreign holidays.”
Howsen, 25, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly producing a false statement to obtain social security benefit and one count of dishonestly failing to notify change of circumstances to gain social security benefit.
The Bench adjourned sentence and asked for reports to be ready in five weeks’ time and told her sentencing options would include imprisonment.
Miss Shepherd said Howsen had claimed she lived only with her young son, but it became false when she moved to Otley Road with Mr Butler in January 2012.
The investigation involved surveillance at the house and investigations on Facebook, which contained comments and photographs indicating she and Mr Butler were in a partnership.
When interviewed, Howsen said she had separated from Mr Butler before the birth of her son and now barely spoke to him. She said they “didn’t really get on” and he did not pay towards the upkeep of the baby.
Miss Shepherd said Howsen had knowledge of the benefits system and was aware changes in circumstances needed to be reported.
Further investigation revealed the defendant was the registered owner of an Audi A3 and that £69,000 had been paid into Mr Butler’s account in ten months from February 2012. The Bench was told Mr Butler did buy her the Audi, but he put no money into the running of the family. Howsen now had a part-time job.