A woman who claimed to be a single, unemployed mother-of-three to receive nearly one hundred grand in taxpayers’ money is now behind bars after she shared photos of her wedding day on social media.
Wendy Cooper, 44, of Canley, Coventry, pocketed more than ninety thousand dollars in housing and tax benefits and income support between September 2004 and October 2013, the Daily Mail reports.
However, the Department for Work and Pensions caught her red-handed when investigators found wedding pictures on her Facebook page last November.
"The problem I have is this: everyone is conscious of the constraint on public money, which is affecting all sorts of services,” Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said, according to the Daily Mirror. "She has fiddled the public out of £57,000 when the National Health Service is striving to get machines to save people's lives and nurses have been having their pay held back."
He told Cooper: "You effectively stole from the public; and I'm very sorry, but I can't overlook this.”
Cooper, who married 53-year-old Clifford Smith in September 2004, had five jobs over the course of the nine years (2004-2013), but continued to pretend she was single and claim government hand-outs.
“On nine separate forms over the period of time she included changes of address etc; but whenever asked to indicate whether she had a partner she ticked the box to say she was single,” Prosecutor Jane Sarginson said.
Cooper’s previous jobs included working in care homes, worked for Brook Street U.K., First Personnel, Professional Personnel and Ideal Care Homes. She was even employed at Coventry City Council at one point, but only declared one period of employment.
The Coventry Telegraph reports that Cooper was sentenced to 8 months in prison after admitting 21 charges of failing to notify a change in circumstances.