Facebook Relationship Status Gets Woman Busted For Welfare Fraud

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Denise Lonie, 37, will spend 12 months in prison for scamming the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions for £30,000 (about $47,000) by pretending she was a single mother.

For over four years, Lonie hid her relationship with her partner, Graeme Heatherwick, in order to claim Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. She had reportedly claimed that she and Heatherwick had broken up. 

The fraud fell apart when welfare chiefs noticed that Lonie’s Facebook profile listed her as “in a relationship with Graeme Heatherwick," according to The Courier.

There were also incriminating photos of them together, where Heatherwick made comments such as “sitting on the patio with the missus.”

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told Dundee Sheriff Court that an investigation started when they received confidential information that Lonie may not be a single mother, The Mirror reports.

 "There were various checks through banks and other establishments such as the council,” she said. “They appeared to show that Mr. Heatherwick resided at her address. His bank account was registered at that address, as was his credit card.

"He was down as an emergency contact with the school, and the address was given as her address," she added.

The pair had been living together in Dundee, Scotland, since 2005, although they briefly broke up in 2009.

Lonie pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in a fraudulent activity with a view to obtaining tax credits to which she was not entitled.

Sources: Mirror, The Courier

Image via Mirror, Maria Elena/Flickr