Couple jailed after �100,000 benefit scam

A MARRIED mother-of-four who swindled �100,000 in benefits by claiming she was a struggling single mum has been jailed for nine months.

Natalie Tear, 31, was living with her husband in Page Close, Dagenham, but kept her maiden name of Carter and repeatedly lied on forms by claiming she was bringing up her children on her own.

Egged on by husband John Tear, 32, the cheat netted income support, housing benefit and council tax rebates for almost 10 years.

John Tear was also jailed for six months, sparking emotional scenes at Snaresbrook Crown Court as the couple begged to see their two-week-old baby, who was being looked after by a relative outside court.

Judge John Lafferty ordered the duo down to the cells without seeing the child, which is likely to follow Tear inside so she can continue to breast feed.


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The judge had said: ‘Many think that fraud on the benefit system amounts to a victimless crime.

‘But the people who suffer as a result are the honest, hard working, tax paying members of society.’

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Tear, referred to as Miss Carter during the hearing, between September 1999 and April last year failed to declare she was living with John Tear in Dagenham, who she married in 2000.

The court heard the couple were arrested and both admitted milking the system.

John Tear said he was initially unaware of the scam, but later urged his wife to ‘go for it’ when he learned of the thousands of pounds she was netting.

The Tears had only paid back a nominal sum and the court heard it would take the couple 100 years to repay the entire �100,000.

Ironically the Tears had failed to claim benefits which they were actually entitled to, including child tax credit, because they failed to realise they qualified for them, the court heard.

In real terms, this has cost the public purse very little because of the benefits they would have been entitled to,’ said Steven Pidcock, defending Natalie Tear.

Natalie Tear admitted three counts of obtaining property by deception, obtaining money transfers by deception, three counts of dishonestly obtaining an exemption from liability and three counts of making false representations.

John Tear admitted three counts of obtaining property by deception, obtaining money transfers by deception, two counts of dishonestly obtaining an exemption from liability and two counts of making false representations.

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