Countesthorpe benefit cheat to repay benefits after investigation

Blaby District LogoA benefit cheat is to repay nearly £8,000 after pleading guilty to dishonesty charges.

Christopher Phipps, 56, of Rosebank Road, Countesthorpe, was sentenced at Leicester Magistrates Court on Thursday 7 January after receiving £7,869.80 in housing benefit and local council tax reduction between February 2013 and January 2015 while not declaring earned income.

The investigation was carried our after a data match to prevent and detect fraud, which compared information held between local authorities and the HMRC.

The court heard there were two occasions when Mr Phipps had contacted the council and made false statements regarding his financial position.

Mr Phipps was given a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £350 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Blaby District Council is recovering the £7,869.80 that was overpaid while Mr Phipps will also be subject to Loss of Benefit provisions. These provisions enable the Secretary of State to apply a sanction to benefits.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Efficiency & Assets, said:

“This case once again demonstrates the importance of declaring true circumstances when claiming benefit and reporting any changes as they take place.

“Failure to do so may lead to a criminal record and could have an impact on future claims.”

Suspected benefit cheats can be reported online at www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud or by calling the DWP National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

All calls are free and confidential.

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