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Lichfield and Burntwood residents prosecuted for benefit fraud

Three Lichfield and Burntwood residents have been prosecuted for benefit fraud.

On August 2 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 53-year-old Lilian Westwood, previously of Burton Road in Whittington, pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances.

She also pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly making a false declaration in connection with her claim for housing and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Westwood did not tell the council that she had more capital than the allowed amount. She also failed to declare this capital on her housing benefit and council tax benefit claim forms.

As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £3,023 in housing and council tax benefit, which she is repaying to the council. She was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £375.

On August 23 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 49-year-old Christopher Banks, of Aspen Close in Lichfield, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances in connection with his claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Banks failed to promptly tell the council that he had started paid employment. As a result of his actions, he was overpaid £2,607 in housing and council tax benefit, which he is repaying to the council. He was also overpaid £2,150 in Jobseeker’s Allowance by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Banks was sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work, 12 months community punishment and £50 costs.

On the same day, 63-year-old Maralyn Guise, of Lichfield Road in Burntwood, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly making a false representation in connection with her claim for council tax benefit and one charge of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances.

The court heard that Guise failed to declare her total capital and that she also received a private pension. As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £6,482 in council tax benefit, which she has repaid the council. She was sentenced to a two-year community order, a two-year supervision order and ordered to pay £625 costs.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “If you claim council tax or housing benefits, these cases highlight just how important it is to tell us immediately if anything in your life changes, which could affect your benefits.

“If you are worried about your claim, please contact our benefits team as soon as possible, so they can help to make sure you are getting the right amount.”

For help and advice with housing or council tax benefit, please call Lichfield District Council on 01543 308900 or email benefits@lichfielddc.gov.uk.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.