Bootle benefits fraud woman 'invented' six children

Angela Callaghan, Nicola Brown, Maria McDermott and Lise Keightley Angela Callaghan (top left), Nicola Brown (top right), Maria McDermott (bottom left) and Lisa Keightley admitted benefit fraud.

A woman who invented six children in order to claim extra state benefits, has been jailed for a year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Angela Callaghan, 42, of Parkfield Avenue, Bootle, claimed overpayments between 2009 and 2012.

She admitted the offences and fraudulently claiming about £45,000, at an earlier hearing.

The court also heard Callaghan had a side business advising other women on how to claim extra tax credits.

'Public duty'

Callaghan received £700 from three other women for helping them make bogus claims, the court was told.

Three Liverpool women - Nicola Brown, 34, of Esmond Street, Maria McDermott, 31, of Radstock Road and Lisa Keightley, 28, of Cullen Street - admitted falsely claiming tax credits and were given two-year suspended sentences at the same court last week.

The court heard Callaghan was a victim of domestic violence but Judge David Aubrey QC said he would be failing in his public duty not to impose a custodial sentence.

Sandra Smith, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: "Callaghan lied on numerous occasions to receive benefits she wasn't entitled to, pocketing money needed to fund public services.

"She then went on to help others make fraudulent claims. All these women now have criminal records and have to repay the stolen money."

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