woman receives jail term after admitting benefit fraud
24 year-old Burnham-On-Sea resident has received an eight week
jail term after admitting benefit fraud.
woman, who lives near Marine Drive, appeared at Taunton Magistrates
Court and has been the subject of an investigation by Sedgemoor
District Council's legal services team.
innvestigated her employment history after she claimed to be receiving
no income at all whilst claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax
this time, she had also made applications for additional discretionary
housing payments on the grounds of financial hardship.
prosecuting solicitor told the court that such discretionary payments
are reserved for those in desperate need and councils are only
permitted a limited amount of funds for this purpose each year.
found that the lady had in fact worked for five employers since
2009 and failed to declare all of her earnings over this period
of time," said a council spokeswoman.
employer paid her an average take home pay of £1,000 per
month for nearly two years. When interviewed, the lady admitted
failing to declare the earnings to the council whilst claiming
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit on the grounds of no income."
overpayment of £9,589.17 was raised as a result of her actions.
She appeared before magistrates and the Chairman of the Bench
stated that the case had been identified as a serious offence
involving a significant amount of public money over a lengthy
period of time.
into account her guilty plea and admission, she was sentenced
to eight weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, plus 150
hours unpaid work, 10 days attendance on an Educational Training
and Employment Programme and Probation Service supervision for
In addition to the sentences passed by the courts, Sedgemoor District
Council says it actively pursues the recovery of all overpaid
benefits from offenders.
Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Sedgemoor District
Council has a zero-tolerance for benefit fraud. The Council works
with a whole host of different sources to continue to fight benefit
fraud, which costs £1.5 billion nationally. Since April,
nine cases of benefit fraud, amounting to overpayments of more
than £46,000, have been taken to court."
comes in to the council in various ways; including calls from
the general public, data matching exercises, council staff, the
Police and the Department for Work and Pensions."
Members of the public who have concerns regarding benefit fraudsters
within the area can provide information by calling the Fraud Hotline
on 0845 408 2540.