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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

'Globetrotting' woman jailed for large scale benefit fraud


Tracy Johnson has today been jailed for one year having been convicted of 13 counts of benefit fraud at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Ms Johnson was found to have travelled the globe and set up companies in South America, all while claiming to suffer from severe health problems, including agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. She was found to be in fraudulent receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Income Support, Housing and Council Tax Benefit and Child Tax Credits totalling £48,000 between 2005 and 2007, despite having made multiple trips to India, South America and New York during that time.

Andrew Penhale, Deputy Head of Fraud at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Tracy Johnson plotted a blatant fraud against the public purse. She used taxpayers' money to fund a lavish, globetrotting lifestyle, all the while exploiting a system designed to support society's most vulnerable citizens.

"This is one of the worst examples of benefit fraud that we have seen. Ms Johnson claimed more than £1000 per month in benefit payments over five years, when in truth she was spending the majority of her time either travelling or working abroad.

"Not only did Ms Johnson travel the globe while claiming she was 'a prisoner in her own home', but she also ran her own tour guide company in South America and earned money working as a wedding photographer. In 2011 she even authored a book entitled Last Tango in Buenos Aires, detailing her experiences as an English woman living in Argentina.

"Making a false claim to suffer from anxiety, depression and agoraphobia undermines those who do genuinely suffer from these debilitating conditions."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.