£17,000 benefit cheat mum claimed husband was her landlord

Karen Wilson.
Karen Wilson.

A MUM fleeced council bosses out of more than £17,000 in benefits after claiming her husband was her landlord.

Karen Wilson, 48, told benefits chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council she was living alone with her son in Johnson Street, Hartlepool.

But her landlord P Wilkinson, was made up and her husband Peter Wilson was paying the mortgage while she carried out her con.

Wilson, who had initially rented the property, dishonestly claimed £17,304.03 in benefits, £1,761.93 of which she has paid back.

Representing the council, Tony McNab told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court the council’s benefits fraud team and council tax department received details which showed discrepancies between the owner of the house in Johnson Street and the stated landlord.

Mr McNab said the information held that the Johnson Street landlord was a Mr Wilkinson.

But an investigation by the council’s fraud team revealed the owner of the house had been Peter Wilson from April 28, 2006.

Financial checks took place that linked Karen Wilson to Peter Wilson, and correspondence was received that linked the pair to a joint loan on the property.

Southern Pacific Mortgage Services provided a statement confirming the couple had taken out the loan and secured it on the property on May 29, 2007.

The pair declared on the application form that Peter Wilson had lived at the address for a year and four months.

Wilson later sent the council a change of address notification form saying she had moved to Reef House, at Hartlepool Marina, and now lived alone.

Information from Mr Wilson’s employers confirmed his address was Johnson Street from April 19, 2006 until September 2009 and that his address at the time of the investigation was Reef House, where Karen Wilson had said she lived alone.

The landlord of Reef House provided a tenancy agreement which had been signed by the couple on September 25, 2009.

Wilson was interviewed and cautioned over making a false declaration concerning the name of her landlord.

She eventually said she knew her husband had owned the property, and she knew she shouldn’t have been receiving benefits for it.

Wilson, now of The Front, Seaton Carew, admitted four counts of making a false statement to obtain benefit between May 11, 2006 and September 24, 2009.

Neil Taylor, mitigating, said: “There are a number of issues including my client’s mental and physical health, we will need some help from the probation department.”

He added Wilson was of previous good character.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Margaret Sleeman adjourned the hearing until Wednesday, March 30 and granted Wilson unconditional bail.