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Benefit cheat from Rishton may face jail for £94k fraud
A BENEFIT cheat has been told she could be sent to prison after admitting falsely claiming more than £94,000.
Cleo Embley, 36, admitted three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstance when she appeared at Burnley Crown Court.
The judge was told how Embley, of Bridge Street, Rishton, continued to claim more income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit than she was entitled to for more than four years.
The court heard that she had been ‘living as husband and wife’ with her partner Paul Harwood, who was working and able to provide financial help.
The fraud, from the Department of Work and Pensions and Hyndburn Council, happened between February 2008 and March 2012.
Embley was released on unconditional bail and the case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report until September 23.
Judge Robert Talbot told her: “This is a case where a large sum of public money has been defrauded.
“It is important that you have in mind that all sentencing options, including immediate custody, will fall to be considered by the sentencing judge.
“The mere fact that I am granting you bail until September 23 and the fact that I have requested a pre sentence report should not be taken by you as any indication that a non-custodial sentence will follow.” A spokesman for Hyndburn Council said the case was brought to court by the Department for Work and Pensions with help from the council.
Coun Joan Smith, deputy leader of Hyndburn Council for resources, said: “I welcome the guilty plea. We actively pursue people for benefit fraud and we want to give the message that you are not going to get away with it.
“We are very good at pursuing information about benefit fraud, which we get from various sources including members of the public.”