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Benefits Cheat Jailed

A 64-year-old woman has been jailed after claiming more than £70,000 of Jersey income support that she wasn't entitled to.

Laurentina Martins Gouveia has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for giving false information to the government.

She admitted two counts of fraud in the Royal Court.

Steve Jackson, who is Group Director of Customer and Local Services, says his team is focused on making sure benefit cheats don't get away scot-free.

“Income Support exists to support islanders who really need it, when they need it. Our officers’ focus is to ensure benefit cheats are brought to justice.

"We’re calling on the public to let us know if they suspect anyone of making fraudulent claims to obtain income support or any other benefit. Their identity will always be protected, whether the allegation is found to be true or not. This case illustrates that this illegal activity is investigated in detail, sometimes drawing on information from other jurisdictions, but it is taken extremely seriously and can carry custodial sentences."

The enforcement team at Customer and Local Services is tasked with investigating potentially fraudulent claims for many reasons, such as a false declaration of assets and a relationship status.

However, the team says public reports submitted via the fraud website 'Report a Benefit Thief' on www.gov.je and free confidential Fraud Hotline 0800 735 1111 are also important sources of information.


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