A Liverpool mum who lied about her income, her partner and her childcare costs to fraudulently claim almost £84,000 in tax credits has been jailed today.
Mum of three Leeann Powe, 30, of Speke moved in with her partner in 2006 but continued to use her mother's address to claim as a single parent. She also told HMRC that she was working up to 30 hours and incurring childcare costs of £299 per week. In reality Powe worked intermittently and often for fewer hours than stated, and never paid a penny to the childcare providers she claimed to use.
Mike O'Grady, Assistant Director for HMRC said:
"Leeann Powe initially claimed tax credits in 2003 as a single parent. But in 2006 she began living with a partner and failed to notify HMRC knowing full well that this would result in her receiving money she was not entitled to. From then on Powe's lies snowballed to include work she never undertook and childcare she didn't use or pay for.
"Only a small minority of tax credits claimants deliberately commit fraud - the vast majority are completely honest and claim only what is rightfully theirs. Those who persist in making false claims for their own gain do so at the risk of investigation and prosecution."
Leeann Powe contacted the tax credits helpline in 2007, saying that she had started working 30 hours a week at a fast food restaurant. In fact she was only contracted to work five or six hours a week and left her job in May 2008 without telling HMRC. She also claimed to be paying £299 a week in childcare costs, but investigations later revealed that none of her three children had ever attended a childcare facility.
In August 2010, Powe contacted HMRC to say that she had changed her job earlier that year and was now working 24 hours a week at an off licence. But this was a short-lived post which she had already left by the time of her call. Her payments continued and her fraud totalled £83,876 at the time of her arrest in March 2011.
Powe was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to 46 weeks custodial. She had admitted fraudulently obtaining over £83,000 in tax credits.