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Lottery winners exposed as benefits cheats after stealing £42,000 in tax credits despite claiming £250,000 prize

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  • Alfred Wills, 64 and his partner Patricia Marshall, 55, swindled more than £42,000 after winning the lottery
  • The duo, from West Boldon, South Tyneside claimed pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefits when they had savings stashed away
  • Wills won £250,000 on the lottery in 2008 but the couple claimed they only had £800 savings
  • He also received a £38,000 lump sum when he retired
  • When he was caught Wills said: ‘I have been an idiot, a fraudster’
  • Wills and Marshall were sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, at Newcastle Crown Court
  • The couple have repaid all the money which they dishonestly claimed

A pair of benefit cheats swindled more than £42,000 from the taxpayer – despite having won £250,000 on the lottery.

Alfred Wills, 64, and his partner Patricia Marshall, 55, from West Boldon, South Tyneside, claimed pension credit, housing benefit and council tax for five years – even though they had more than £170,000 savings stashed away.

Wills had won £250,000 on the lottery in 2008 and also received a lump sum of £38,000 when he retired from his job at South Tyneside Council.

But the couple, who had no previous convictions, claimed they only had between £700 and £800 of savings – so they could claim more than £42,000 in benefits.

When they were arrested last year, Wills said: ‘All I am saying is hands up, I have been caught. I have been an idiot, a fraudster, whatever you are going to call it.’

At a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, Wills pleaded guilty to two counts of benefit fraud. Marshall pleaded guilty to three counts of the same charge.

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