A WOMAN from Moreton-in-Marsh has been convicted of a £46,000 benefit fraud which involved her faking her marriage certificate.

Lesley Cross, 37, of St George’s Close, Moreton-in-Marsh, admitted the multiple offences and appeared at Gloucester Crown Court on 24 February to be prosecuted by Cotswold District Council. She pleaded guilty to six offences of falsely obtaining benefits and one offence of using a fake marriage certificate.

She also asked for 15 other similar offences to be taken into consideration.

The court heard that Cross had received housing and council tax benefit as a single parent from September 2002 to January 2006 and from May 2006 to March 2011, and had also received income support.

In September 2011 she said that her partner, who had a job, had been living with her for six months. She showed her marriage certificate dated March 2011 to support this statement.

However, investigations by CDC showed that the certificate had been altered and the actual date of her marriage was March 2009. It was also revealed that her partner had been living at the house from at least 2006.

Cross and her partner were interviewed under caution in June 2013 and the council withdrew benefit payments. By then Cross had falsely obtained income support, social fund loans, housing and council tax benefit totalling £45,947.13.

The Crown Court bailed Cross until 21 March 2014 when sentencing will take place.