Blackpool woman’s housing cash fraud

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court
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A Blackpool mother-of-one set up a system to illegally claim benefits.

Shop worker Lauren Torkington, 23, was bought a house by her grandfather who also furnished it.

She took a so called tenancy agreement to Blackpool Council who then authorised housing benefit payments because she said she had not got enough money. Money – rent for the house on Briercliffe Road, Blackpool – was then paid to her grandfather.

But instead of keeping it he paid it into his grand-daughter’s banking account calling it ‘driving bonuses and expenses’.

Torkington, who still lives in the house, admitted two charges of fraud.

She pleaded guilty to failing to tell the Department of Work and Pensions about the money paid into her bank account, which would have affected her entitlement to Income Support.

And she admitted cheating Blackpool Council out of Housing Benefit by pretending to have a proper lease on the house.

The offences took place over a 16-month period, prosecutor Alison Quanbrough told Blackpool Magistrates Court.

The prosecutor said as a result, Torkington was overpaid £10,274 which she was paying back at the rate of £36.50 a week.

Defence lawyer Mitch Serangi asked for pre sentence reports to be prepared on his client.