Council worker jailed after using 19 fake IDs to claim benefits

Council worker, 56, who used 19 fake IDs to swindle £275k in benefits for luxury holidays and sending her children to private school is jailed for two-and-a-half years

  • Lucy Parker, from Warks, posed as several people to claim £275,000 in benefits
  • She used the money to send children to private school and go on luxury holidays
  • Scheme saw her fraudulently claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit
  • DWP investigators carried out a surveillance operation to uncover the operation
  • Parker, 56, was jailed for two and a half years after admitting nine counts of fraud

Lucy Parker has been jailed for two and a half years after admitting fraudulently claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit

A council worker who fraudulently claimed £275,000 in benefits before blowing the cash on luxury holidays and sending her children to private school has been jailed.

Lucy Parker, used a total of 19 fake identities to swindle thousands of pounds over a six year period.

A court heard the 56-year-old posed as 19 different people during the sophisticated scam in order to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit.

She used forged documents including bogus doctor’s letters and tenancy agreements and had a stash of burner phones as contact numbers for her false identities.

Parker, from Barby, Warwickshire, splashed out on trips to Japan and South Africa and used the money to send her children to a fee-paying private school.

But DWP investigators uncovered the scam after a Job Centre worker noticed she had made claims in two different names.

Parker, who worked in the admin department at Warwick University and the social care department at Warwickshire County Council, and is the wife of the National Farmers Union’s head of tax, was arrested by police in 2018.

She went on to admit nine counts of fraud and was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Warwick Crown Court on Friday.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Potter said: ‘This was not a moment of madness on your part, but sustained criminality over a period not of months but many years.

‘What you did was to make a large number of false claims, and you were paid as a result just shy of £275,000.

‘You were someone who has worked for Warwickshire County Council in social care, well knowing the strain the public services are always under, but in particular were under at that time.

‘You effectively stole money from the public purse.

‘You were living, if not a luxurious lifestyle, a very comfortable lifestyle, and you owned your home outright and your children were sent to public school.

‘Yours was sophisticated offending. The way you conducted these frauds involved a good deal of thought and planning.

‘It was a highly successful fraud, and it netted you a substantial sum of money.’

Prosecutor Jamie Scott said Parker made fraudulent claims totalling just over £274,900 between April 2012 and August 2018.

She used a total of 19 false identities, some of whom she knew had moved abroad so ‘would not be likely to have any contact with the benefit agency.’

Parker defrauded Department for Work and Pensions out of £274,900, Warwick Crown Court heard through a scheme the judge described as ‘sustained criminality over a period of years’

Mr Scott said: ‘Her family lived a comfortable middle-class lifestyle, with holidays to far-flung places such as South Africa and Japan.’

Her ‘systematic fraud’ was rumbled when she posed as a Louise Clarke at a job centre where a member of staff recognised her as having made a claim in another name.

A DWP investigation was launched and CCTV was obtained from banks which showed Parker withdrawing cash from accounts she had set up in different names.

She used real people whose birth and marriage certificates Parker had obtained to support her use of their identities.

Parker had also created false hospital and GP’s letters purporting to show claimants had to undergo procedures including knee operations and hysterectomies.

The first false claims were in the name of Dianne Smith who had the tenancy of a property in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, which had actually been rented by Parker.

Department of Work and Pensions investigators uncovered Parker’s fraud after an employee at the job centre (file photo) recognised her and realised she had claimed under two names

Using that identity and an account in that name, Parker then obtained the birth and marriage certificates of other people whose names she went on to use.

She provided a variety of addresses for them, some of which turned out to be derelict buildings.

Following an eight-month surveillance operation by DWP investigators, Parker’s home was searched.

A large number of fake and blank documents were found, together with a USB stick on which she had false references and tenancy agreements.

At least seven cheap pay-as-you-go ‘burner’ phones were found, each with details on the back of the number and the false claimant for which it was used as a contact.

When she was first interviewed Parker lied, denying any knowledge of the frauds and saying she rented the house in Tisdale Rise to a friend.

She declined to answer any questions the following day before confessing her crimes in a prepared statement several months later.

Kevin Hegarty QC, defending, said: ‘It involved repeating the same exercise over and over again, and of all the computer details gathered from the house, nothing was encrypted.

‘The offending plainly had to have planning, but in my submission it is not significant to that degree.

‘Once this system was in place, the offending was simply repeated.’

Mr Hegarty said Parker previously led ‘a blameless life,’ and since the offences came to light the family home has been sold.

One of her two sons had ‘particular difficulties,’ and it was her ‘focus and devotion to him’ which led to her crimes.

Mr Hegarty added: ‘Of course, it was always open to her not to send her children to a fee-paying school, but such was her devotion to her children that she could not accept that as a way forward.

‘She was faced with that difficulty which she answered in a wholly wrong way.’

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