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A couple who went on luxury holidays to Dubai and US while posing as landlord and tenant as part of a £108,000 benefits scam have been jailed for total of four years.
Jonathan Lucas, 38, and Melissa Ellis, 34, pocketed £108,754 of taxpayers' money by claiming benefits that they were not entitled to, Liverpool Crown Court heard earlier today.
Pair - Money - Years - Living - Plush
The pair had been pocketing the money for nine years despite living in a plush home in Huyton, Merseyside, and taking their three children on flashy holidays to America, Dubai and Portugal.
Their home, which was protected by security gates, had a convoy of vehicles including a Jaguar, Mercedes, Range Rover and a Transit van with a trailer on their driveway.
Garage - Side - House - Building - Tools
The garage at the side of the house contained building tools and materials as well as a 'J & L Landscaping' sign at the back.
There were also four mountain bikes, one large scrambler bike and two smaller bikes.
Fraud - Investigators - Department - Work - Pensions
Suspicious fraud investigators for the Department for Work and Pensions eventually snared the couple after visiting the four-bedroom house.
Lucas and Ellis, who illegally claimed the benefits between 2008 and 2017, were living together as husband and wife.
Ellis - Housing - Benefit - Tenant - Partner
But Ellis had been claiming housing benefit as a tenant before paying it to her partner Lucas, a self-employed businessman, as her landlord and the property owner.
Lucas admitted to officers there was also cash belonging to him in a safe in the loft.
£35 - Stashes - Cash - Kitchen - Handful
They found £35,000 along with other stashes of cash in the kitchen and a handful of Mexican currency.
In total, officers seized £55,931 and $437.59 in Mexican Pesos.
Couple - Scene - St - Anne - Street
The couple were arrested at the scene and taken to St Anne Street police station for questioning.
Ellis was shown her applications for housing benefit and income support that she had made from both her previous...
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