Benefits cheat is ordered to pay back £32,000

Joanne Crumblehome
Joanne Crumblehome

A mum-of-three who cheated the benefits system out of more than £32,000 has been ordered to hand it back.

Joanne Crumbleholme was jailed for 24 weeks in July after admitting being knowingly concerned in fraudulently obtaining tax credits.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that she had begun her claim legitimately after splitting up with her husband Paul Crumbleholme.

When she got back together with her husband, who was working, she did not reveal this and carried on claiming.

Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said that between April 2010 and September last year Crumbleholme, who has no previous convictions, fraudulently obtained £32,472.

The 45-year-old of Edmund Drive, Leigh, re-appeared at the court yesterday for a Proceeds of Crime Hearing and an out-of-court settlement was reached.

It was agreed that she had benefitted by £33,836, allowing for inflation, and has realiseable assets, involving her share of the family home and a Nissan car, totalling £35,000.

The judge, Recorder Michael Blakey, imposed a confiscation and a compensation order in the sum of £32,472 to HMRC. If the money is not repaid in three months, she faces 18 months’ imprisonment in default