£60k benefits cheat from Walsall is told to pay back just £1

A woman who fiddled more than £60,000 in benefits has been ordered to pay back £1 – while her partner must pay back thousands.

Judge Michael Dudley told 47-year-old Angela Dennis she must pay the money within 28 days or serve one day behind bars in default. But Dennis’s husband Mohammed Mughal was told by the judge he must repay the £32,283 he benefited from their crimes, plus a further £1,200 towards the costs of the prosecution, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard yesterday.

The court was told Mughal, aged 48, had assets totalling £43,415 which included equity in the family home. He was given six months to come up with the money.

The judge ruled Mughal, of Berryfield, Aldridge, would have to go back behind bars for a further 15 months if he did not pay the money back in time.

Dennis, of Myatt Avenue, Aldridge, benefited by £29,476 from their crimes but, said Miss Laura Hobson, prosecuting, an investigation revealed she had no realiseable assets.

The pair had denied seven charges of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in their circumstances but they were found guilty after a trial.

The trial had been told they claimed income support, housing and council tax benefits and jobseekers allowance over a six year period while failing to declare they were married.

After the jury returned their guilty verdicts the pair, neither of whom had any previous convictions, were both jailed by the judge for 20 weeks.

The judge told them at the time only custody was appropriate for their wrongdoing and added: “Benefit fraud is always a serious matter.

“It affects every member of the community that pays their taxes and it is a matter that causes upset to those who do pay their way that people cheat the system.”