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Four women have been successfully prosecuted by Lichfield District Council  for benefit fraud. On November 11 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 79-year-old Anita Beresford, of Browning Road in Burntwood, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly making a false representation in connection with her council tax benefit claim. The court heard that Mrs Beresford failed to declare all her capital. The claim was false from the outset and the offence took place over five years. As a result of her actions, Mrs Beresford was overpaid £3,895 in council tax benefit, which she is repaying to the council. She was fined £160, and ordered to pay £250 costs, and £15 victim surcharge. On the same day, 50-year-old Julie Box, of Coronation Avenue in Mile Oak, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to give prompt notification of a change in circumstance which affected her housing and council tax benefit. The court heard that Mrs Box failed to notify the council when her son moved in with her. As a result of her actions, Mrs Box was overpaid £668 in housing benefit, which she is repaying to the council. She was given a six month supervision order and 40 hours unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £250 costs. On September 28 at Stafford Magistrates’ Court, Jennifer Ball, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances in her claim for income support, and housing and council tax benefit. The court heard that the 46-year-old failed to declare that her partner had been living with her and that she had a paid job. As a result of her actions, Mrs Ball was overpaid £667 in housing and council tax benefit and £5,344 in income support, which she is repaying. She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and given a 12 month supervision order. On September 29 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 64-year-old Christine Davis, of Norton Lane in Burntwood, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly making a false representation in connection with her claim to housing and council tax benefit. The court heard that Mrs Davis failed to declare an annuity on her housing benefit and council tax benefit claim forms. As a result of her actions, Mrs Davis was overpaid £1,717 in housing and council tax benefit, which she is repaying to the council. She was sentenced to six months community punishment and supervision order, and ordered to pay £450 costs. Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “If you claim council tax and/or housing benefits, these cases highlight just how important it is to tell us immediately if anything changes that could affect your benefit. “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 claiming the right amount.” For help and advice with housing or council tax benefit, call Lichfield District Council on 01543 308900 or email benefits@lichfielddc.gov.uk.

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Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.