Tracy Dougherty and her new husband, Stephen Turner, recently had their dream wedding on a beach in Cuba. According to Metro, the lovely couple also had the privilege of tying the knot with 20 of their close relatives they were also able to pay travel expenses for. Their enchanting, destination wedding was definitely a beautiful site to behold; one most people could only dream about. But, how they paid for their extravagant wedding has landed them both behind bars.
Several news outlets have reported that the couple fraudulently claimed more than $132,000 in government benefits from 2000 to 2013. A detailed breakdown of the couple’s fraudulent claims was reported by Manchester Evening News. Apparently, the 38-year-old woman claimed to be the single mother of four children, which enabled her to collect a supplemental income, housing benefits, and other tax benefits.
It has also been reported that her husband Stephen, 60, a self-employed truck driver also failed to report his income. He received unemployment benefits and falsely claimed to be his mother’s caregiver in order to use her as a dependent during that 13-year span. He also failed to report the funds in his checking and savings accounts.
Investigators reportedly found out about their false claims and conducted a full search of their home. That’s where invitations and other receipts from their wedding expenses were discovered. It has also been reported that the couple actually paid the travel expenses for their 20 guests. The travel accommodations alone reportedly cost nearly $30,000.
Counselor Paul Kenny recently weighed in with his opinion of the couple’s fraudulent actions in wake of the heightened number of controversial government benefit claims.
“This couple lived a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the local taxpayer. At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, this kind of behavior will no doubt frustrate those footing the bill. Benefits are there for people who need them, not for those who want to subsidize their income and pay for expensive holidays.”
The couple was arrested from their home where they also denied living together, reports St. Helen The Reporter. On Feb. 27, Tracy Dougherty pleaded guilty to filing fraudulent claims for government benefits. and was reportedly sentenced to eight months in prison and her husband Stephen Turner has been ordered to repay an estimated $6,000.
[Image via Manchester Evening News]