Benefits cheat who claimed £43k took family on pricey two-week trip to Florida


A carer who fiddled £43,600 in benefits by claiming to be a struggling single mum took her family on a pricey two-week trip to Florida.

Laura Bowden was paid the money in housing benefits and tax credits – but in fact she was living full time with her partner.

They both went on holiday to Florida with her three children and his one child in the summer of 2016, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Bowden, 36, of Torquay, Devon, admitted two counts of making false declarations to obtain benefit.

She was jailed for 48 weeks, suspended for a year by Judge Timothy Rose.

They headed to Florida for a holiday with the funds
They headed to Florida for a holiday with the funds

He told her: “These were serious matters of dishonesty against public funds, the tax payer, and public resources.”

Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said claimed benefits from July 2015 to October 2017 by saying she was a single mother when in fact she was in a relationship.

She claimed a total of £43,646.15 in housing benefit and tax credits.

Checks showed she was living with her partner in Torquay or his mother’s home in Chard.

They had both gone on holiday to Florida with their four children in 2016 and she described herself as his common law spouse in car insurance documents.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Bowden had left the family finances to her partner but accepts she should have notified the benefit authorities about the true position.

He said her partner had paid his share of the holiday in Florida which he said was ‘not a lavish event’.

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