Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Wirral nurse lied to claim £92,000 in tax credits
2:50pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A nurse who lied to obtain £92,000 in tax credits lavished some on luxury holidays, cruises and a holiday chalet, a court heard today.
46-year-old Cheryl Henwood, a mother-of-three, had claimed she was a single parent and that two of her children, who all have medical difficulties, were receiving the highest level of disability living care allowance.
But in reality she was living with her husband and only one of her children was receiving the top rate DLA.
She continued her lies for seven years before eventually being caught out by HM Revenue and Customs in March 2011.
Investigations revealed she had been living the high life with family holidays to Florida Disney World and Dubai and a Disney cruise.
Despite her claims to be single, she celebrated her wedding anniversary while in Dubai and had booked another Disney cruise shortly before HMRC fraud investigators detained her.
She also had a half share in a holiday chalet in Abersoch, North Wales, and bought a jet-ski after she and her husband had completed the relevant qualifications.
In one financial year - 2004/2005 - she received £13,715 in tax credits when she was actually entitled to just £26.
In another year, after again maintaining her circumstances had not changed, she should have received £535 but actually obtained £13,688, said Louise Brandon, prosecuting.
“She provided a thoroughly dishonest account of her situation in her application renewals and in telephone calls to the helpline,” she said.
While claiming to be separated from her husband, they opened bank accounts together, went on holiday and were involved in various businesses together.
“Two laptops and a memory stick were seized after her arrest and they contained photographs of the family together enjoying holidays.
Text messages spoke of purchasing a watch in Dubai and referred to her ‘hubby’,” said Miss Brandon.
Henwood, of Heythrop Drive, Heswall, declined to answer questions after her arrest and denied she had been untruthful, but after a trial a Liverpool Crown Court jury rejected her claims and convicted her of 12 offences of fraud.
She was due for sentence today, but after her barrister Paul Becker said she now has the funds to repay the tax credits it was adjourned until mid-September and she was further bailed.
The court heard it was unclear how or where she should pay the money to and the judge adjourned it so this could be resolved and the cash paid over.
Mr Becker said Henwood, who has no previous convictions, has recently set up a business as a nurse prescriber involving cosmetic procedures such as Botox.
If she was jailed her registration would lapse and she would not be able to renew it.
He explained that Henwood, who was a nurse in general practice for 20 years, suffers from a long-standing depressive illness and all three of the couple’s children have severe disabilities.
He said she has managed to raise the £92,075 she needs to repay by various means, including her childrens’ savings, disposing her half share in the chalet and her eldest son has sold his car.