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Lichfield District Council prosecutes five people for benefit fraud

Five people have been prosecuted for benefit fraud by Lichfield District Council.

On December 16 2011 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 51-year-old Gillian Troman, of Milne Avenue in Fradley, pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances. She also pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly making a false representation in connection with her claim to income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mrs Troman inherited £60,000 but failed to declare this capital to either the Department of Work and Pensions or Lichfield District Council.

As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £24,012 in housing and council tax benefit and £13,086 in income support.

The case was referred to Crown Court where she was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £350. She has repaid the overpaid money in full.

On January 11 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 46-year-old Paul Challender, of Hints Road in Hopwas, Tamworth, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances in connection with his claim to incapacity benefit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mr Challender failed to declare that his wife had started work. As a result of his actions, he was overpaid £12,164 incapacity benefit and £4,930 housing and council tax benefit.

Mr Challender was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 150 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay costs of £100. An arrangement has been made to repay all the fraudulently obtained money.

At Stafford Magistrates’ Court on January 18, 32-year-old Natalie Williams, of Chapel Lane in Lichfield, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances in connection with her claim to income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mrs Williams failed to declare that she had started part-time work and that her partner was living with her. As a result of her actions, Mrs Williams was overpaid £1,367 housing and council tax benefit and £1,022 income support.

She was fined £130 and ordered to pay costs of £100. An arrangement has been made to repay all the fraudulently obtained money.

On January 23 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 50-year-old Pauline Hilton, of Chadwick Crescent in Hill Ridware, Rugeley, pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly making false representations in connection with her claim for housing and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mrs Hilton failed to declare that she held capital over the prescribed limit. As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £2,776 in housing and council tax benefit. She was sentenced to 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 costs. She has repaid the overpaid money in full.

On January 25 at Burton Magistrates’ Court, 51-year-old Amanda Edwards, of Greenways in Chorley, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly making false representations in connection with her claim to jobseekers allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mrs Edwards had declared that her partner had left her address at a certain date, when he was in fact still living with her. As a result of her actions, she was overpaid £5,074 in housing and council tax benefit and £317 in job seekers allowance.

Mrs Edwards was sentenced to a 12 months supervision order, 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £470. An arrangement has been made to repay all the fraudulently obtained money.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “If you are claiming housing or council tax benefit, these cases highlight just how important it is to tell the council straightway if your circumstances have changed.

“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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