Woman fiddled marriage certificate in £46,000 benefits scam

Lesley Cross, who forged a marriage certificate as part of £46,000 benefits fraud. Photo by Gloucester News Service.

Lesley Cross, who forged a marriage certificate as part of £46,000 benefits fraud. Photo by Gloucester News Service.

First published in News
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A MORETON woman falsified her marriage certificate as part of a £46,000 benefits fiddle, a court was told.

Lesley Cross, 37, failed to reveal to Cotswold District Council or the Department of Work and Pensions that she was living with the man who later became her husband.

She also changed the date on her wedding certificate after they got married in 2009, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Cross, of St George's close, Moreton, admitted one charge of dishonestly failing to notify a change in her circumstances which would affect her benefits entitlement on May 22, 2006.

She also pleaded guilty to five offences of dishonestly making false representations to obtain benefits and one of dishonestly using an altered and falsified marriage certificate to induce Cotswold District Council to accept it as genuine.

Cross asked for fifteen other similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Simon Burns, prosecuting, said the total involved in all her frauds was £45,947.13.

He said the offences she asked to have taken into account all involved social fund loans totalling £2,025.

But the main thrust of her offences involved her failure to notify that she was living with her partner, later her husband, Michael and that he was working.

"The marriage certificate that she submitted was false," he said. "A nine was changed to an 11. We can produce more than adequate evidence that they were living together on a joint tenancy from 2006 onwards."

Judge Jamie Tabor QC bailed Cross until March 21.

He warned her that all sentencing options are open to him.

"This was a lot of money and you are in danger of being sent away, as you will appreciate," he said.

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