Nurse exposed as benefit cheat after Bury Council staff snoop on her Facebook profile (From This Is Lancashire)
Caught in the net: Registered nurse exposed as benefit cheat after Bury Council staff snoop on her Facebook profile
A REGISTERED nurse was exposed as a benefit cheat after Bury Council staff snooped on her home and Facebook account.
Elisha Lopez filled in forms to say she was a single parent living alone at a property in Rochdale Road, Bury.
The 36 year old mother of four also claimed her boyfriend moved out of the property when she moved in.
Lopez was entitled to claim housing benefit on the basis that she was not earning enough in her role as a part-time nurse.
But in January 2013, a whistleblower alerted town-hall chiefs to the fact the Lopez had a second job running a cake-making business.
They also alleged that Lopez’s boyfriend was living at her home.
The council investigated and recorded Lopez’s boyfriend leaving the property each morning and arriving in the evening.
Claims were made that the man, who has not been named, lived with his mother near Lopez.
But the council probed further into the case and found that two vehicles he owned were registered to Lopez’s home.
Local authority bosses then snooped on her Facebook account and saw she was listed as ‘in a relationship’ with the man and was also using the account to take cake-making orders for her business.
Police arrested Lopez earlier this year and, when appearing before Bury magistrates on July 9, she admitted committing benefit fraud over a 26-month period up to August 2013.
Lopez was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order with 130 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £928.
She will also have to pay back the £3,930 in benefits that she wrongly claimed.
After the hearing, the council’s regulations representative Cllr Sandra Walmsley said: “Benefit fraud is not only wrong, but it’s unfair on the taxpayer and on genuine claimants.
“We will continue to take action against those who abuse the system.”