Wigan universal credit manager stole claimants' payments
A woman who assessed people for universal credit has been sentenced for making fake claims and cheating people out of their cash.
Rebecca Hanway, 30, of Wigan, admitted defrauding the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of more than £18,000.
The claims team manager submitted two fraudulent applications and hijacked five claims to steal money, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
She was sentenced to 16 months in jail, suspended for two years.
Hanway admitted nine counts of fraud by abuse of position at Bolton Crown Court on Wednesday and was also ordered to carry out 200 hours' unpaid work and attend 20 days of rehabilitation activity.
The CPS fraud unit said Hanway, of Gibson Street, Bickershaw, who worked at a universal credit service centre in Wigan, misrepresented her own circumstances on two applications and stole five additional identities before submitting a further five fraudulent claims in their names.
Hanway used her own bank account details to receive the universal credit advance payments and she also diverted advance payments from three other claims into her bank between September 2018 to April 2019.
She accessed the DWP computer system and lied about her own circumstances, the CPS added.
Justine McVitie, of the CPS, said Hanway was "a serial fraudster who abused her position of trust in a government department to cheat the public purse out of thousands of pounds".
She added: "She would have been aware of the many genuine claimants of this benefit who genuinely need the help and support of the state to survive.
"Yet, despite earning an income of her own, she cheated and lied her way to claiming money she had no entitlement to."
A DWP statement said benefit fraud "diverts money from those who really need it".
It added: "We have a zero tolerance policy of anyone fraudulently claiming benefits."