Punishing costs of fraud
Published Thursday 23rd December 10 in Council - news and information releases news
Four people are now paying a high price for dishonestly claiming benefits.
Basildon Crown Court on Monday 22nd November, Nita Mary Palmer, 43, of Blenheim Chase, Leigh, admitted two benefit fraud charges dating back to April 2007 and totalling £34,230.34.
Palmer was sentenced to seven months in jail, suspended for two years, and was also given an electronically monitored 130-day curfew order.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions discovered during a joint investigation, that Mrs Palmer had failed to declare that she worked more than 25 hours a week for Virtue Fusion Ltd.
As a result, she had fraudulently received benefits she was not entitled to, worth £5,977.19 from the Council, and worth £28,253.15 from the Department for Work and Pensions. Palmer has now made arrangements to pay back the overpayment due to the Council.
At Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday 8th December, a former Westcliff couple were each sentenced to 150 hours of Community Service and each ordered to pay £150 costs for dishonestly claiming up to £5,929.54 they were not entitled to.
Ryan Doney, 35 and his wife, Theresa, 31, formerly of Whitefriars Crescent, Westcliff, admitted failing to report their changes of circumstances and making false representations.
When Mr Doney enrolled as a student, he failed to tell Southend-on-Sea Borough Council he was receiving a student bursary, and therefore dishonestly received £2,052.43 Housing Benefit.
He and his wife then failed to inform the Council that they had moved to Trimley St Mary, Suffolk. They claimed their address was still in Westcliff, so the couple received an additional £3,301.72 Housing Benefit they were not entitled to, and £575.39 Council Tax Benefit. They will have to repay all their overpaid benefits.
Meanwhile, Simon Patient, 31, of Southchurch Avenue, Southend, admitted to Southend Magistrates on Wednesday 8th December that he had fraudulently claimed benefits worth £6,400.67 after failing to declare that since April 2007, his earnings had doubled.
He was sentenced to a 200-hour community punishment order and ordered to pay £150 towards costs. This overpayment is being recovered from his on-going benefit entitlement.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Executive Councillor Corporate Services, Councillor Andrew Moring, said: "The Council is committed to paying benefits to people who are entitled to receive them, but also has a duty to protect public money.
"We will take action against people who comment the offence of benefit fraud. As these cases show, repayment of benefit is not the only action the Council may take.
"Anyone who has suspicions over a person's entitlement to benefit, can call the Corporate Fraud Investigations Team direct on 01702 215254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
"All information received is treated in the strictest confidence."