A TILBURY couple were sentenced to do a total of 400 hours unpaid work after admitting a large benefit fraud.
Husband and wife, Amanda Jane Brenchley, 40 and John Paul Brenchley, 41, of St Chad’s Road, had pleaded guilty at Southend Crown Court five months ago to fraudulently claiming £21,494.74 in housing and Council Tax benefits.
Sentence was deferred so that they could show the judge that they were determined to repay the overpaid benefit. The court was told they had been repaying at a rate in excess of that ordered by the court.
The court heard that over five years the couple had forged documents purporting to be from Paul Brenchley’s employer, to show Thurrock Council they were eligible to receive the benefit when, in fact, they were not entitled to any benefits.
Officers from the council’s fraud investigation team became suspicious of their claim and travelled to Cornwall to interview Brenchley’s employers and obtain the true signatures of company officials. They also identified his undeclared bank account.
The couple were interviewed under caution and admitted the offences. They pleaded guilty to all offences at Southend Crown Court in April this year.
John Brenchley was sentenced to a Community Order with six months Probation Supervision and was ordered to perform 200 hours unpaid work.
His wife was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work.