Pensioners admit benefit fraud

justiceTwo Blaby District pensioners have been successfully prosecuted after they admitted to making fraudulent claims.

Sandra Harris, 65, of Sapcote Road, Stoney Stanton, initially listed for a trial, changed her plea to guilty at the last minute when appearing at Hinckley Magistrates Court on Tuesday 23 September 2014.

The court heard when Mrs Harris first made her claims for benefit, she was truthful about her circumstances, but she later failed to notify Blaby District Council when she returned to work.

Between September 2011 and May 2013 she was overpaid £3,796.24 in housing benefit, council tax and council tax reduction.

Sandra Harris was sentenced to twelve months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 towards court costs. She is also repaying Blaby District Council the falsely claimed benefits.

Maureen Wileman, 68, of Brookes Avenue, Croft, dishonestly claimed £10,209.71 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax reduction between March 2010 and March 2014. Her claims were false from the outset, failing to declare she held over £20,000 in savings.

Mrs Wileman was fined £220, ordered to pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £22 at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 11 September 2014.

She was charged with making dishonest claims in March 2010 and December 2012. The overpayment has been repaid in full to Blaby District Council.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Finance and Efficiency portfolio holder at Blaby District Council, said:

“This sends a clear message that the Council takes fraud very seriously and people should know that they run the risk of being prosecuted if they are not honest about their circumstances. The Council will not tolerate this type of criminal behaviour, at any level, and action will be taken again against those who are abusing the system.”

If you suspect anyone in Blaby District is committing benefit fraud, please call the Council’s confidential Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0116 272 7733 or complete the online form at www.blaby.gov.uk/fraud

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