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Benefit fraud prosecutions in Lichfield and Burntwood

Seven people have been prosecuted after Lichfield District Council uncovered benefit fraud.

Twenty-six-year-old Helen Broadhurst, previously of Grange Lane in Chasetown, pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly failing to give a prompt notification of a change in circumstances to Lichfield District Council and the Department for Works and Pensions. She had not declared that a partner had been living with her for a number of years that she had been claiming various benefits.

As a result, she was overpaid £1,886 in housing and council tax benefit and £46,033 in income support – a total of £47,919. She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Lynn Lawson, 39, of Oakenfield in Lichfield, pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly failing to give a prompt notification of a change in circumstances to Lichfield District Council and the Department for Works and Pensions. She had failed to declare that her partner lived with her for a number of years while she was claming various benefits. As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £6,959 in housing and council tax benefit and £15,504 in income support – a total of £22,463. She was sentenced to a community order of 300 hours over two years.

Alistair Hawkes, of Rectory Lane in Armitage, pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to give a prompt notification of a change in his circumstances to Lichfield District Council and the Department for Works and Pensions. He failed to declare that his partner was living with him while he was claiming benefits, between January 19, 2009, and April 12, 2009 ,and again between July 19, 2009, and August 26, 2009.

As a result of his actions he was overpaid £1,362 in housing and council tax benefit and £358 in jobseekers’ allowance – a total of £1,720. He received a 12 month community order with 160 hours unpaid work and £100 costs.

Thirty-six-year-old Fiona Howells, of Oakenfield in Lichfield, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to give a prompt notification of a change in circumstances to Lichfield District Council and the Department for Works and Pensions. She had not declared that she was working and that her daughter, who she had included in her benefit claim, did not live with her. As a result of her actions she was overpaid £899 in housing and council tax benefit and £5,891 in income support – a total of £6,790. She received a 12 month community service order with 100 hours unpaid work and £100 costs.

Gail Lewis, 53, of Milne Avenue in Fradley, Lichfield, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to give a prompt notification of a change in circumstances to Lichfield District Council.

The court heard that she failed to promptly declare that she had an increase in her earnings. As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £1,785 in housing and council tax benefit. She was sentenced to a six months supervision order, 40 hours unpaid work, and £200 costs.

Darren Powell, 34, of Coleshill Street in Fazeley, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances in connection with his claim for housing and council tax benefit. The court heard that he failed to promptly declare that he had an increase in his earnings. As a result of his actions, he was overpaid £1,877 in housing and council tax benefit. He was fined £140 and ordered to pay £ 375 costs plus a £15 victim surcharge.

Fifty-seven-year-old John Harvey, of Tuppenhurst Lane, Handsacre in Rugeley, pleaded guilty to two charges of making false declarations in connection with his claims for job seekers’ allowance, housing benefit and council Tax benefit.

The court heard that Mr Harvey failed to declare that he received a mine workers’ pension, making him ineligible for these benefits. As a result of his actions, Mr Harvey was overpaid £1,715 in housing and council tax benefit, and £1,097 in job seekers’ allowance – a total of £2,812. He was sentenced to a community order of 140 hours unpaid work and costs of £100.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Revenues and Benefits, said:

“It’s really important to keep the council and other agencies informed about any changes in your circumstances that could impact on your benefit entitlement. It could be anything from a new job or a pay rise, to someone moving into your home.”

For help and advice with housing or council tax benefit, please call Lichfield District Council’s benefits team on 01543 308900. To report benefit fraud call 0800 783 1030 or textphone 0800 328 6341 or email bit@lichfielddc.gov.uk.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.