'Wife Swap' benefit cheats to be sentenced

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The Independent Online

A Bristol couple who were caught cheating more than £10,000 of benefits after appearing on TV show Wife Swap is due to be sentenced.

Kelly Jones claimed she was a single parent with no income for nearly 18 months, a court previously heard.

Mrs Jones, 23, also claimed she was living alone with her child, when in fact her partner Steven Jones, who works as a bus driver for First, was living with her.

Mrs Jones, who married Mr Jones in April this year, was overpaid £4,976 in housing benefits, £3,614 in income support and received a £1,171 discount on her council tax bill.

The couple will be sentenced at Bristol Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The couple's fraud was only discovered when the city council was tipped off after they appeared in June last year on Channel 4's reality show Wife Swap. The show involves two women spending a fortnight living with each other's husband and family.

Mrs Jones previously admitted failing to notify the council that her partner had moved in with her, declaring on her benefit application that she lived alone, failing to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that her partner was living with her, and also failing to tell the DWP that her husband had received £30,625 when his house in Yate was repossessed.

Mr Jones, 40, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his wife.

The couple, who live in Gill Avenue on the Oldbury Court estate in Fishponds, now have two daughters together - one aged three and the other 11 months. They were paid £1,000 to appear on the Channel 4 show, which was filmed in October 2008.

The court previously heard the couple had been living together since July 2008 in a flat in Stapleton Road after the repossession of Mr Jones's home. When council officers interviewed them starting in August 2009, they fully admitted what they had done. The pair are on bail.