Successful benefit fraud prosecutions
Winchester City Council has successfully prosecuted four residents in benefit fraud cases heard before Basingstoke Magistrates on Monday (10 November). All four pleaded guilty.
Stephen Winlove-Smith of Northfields Cottages, Twyford, appeared for sentencing and was ordered to carry out a 100 hour community punishment order and to pay costs of £200 after admitting failing to declare an increase in earnings and an award of Working Families Tax Credit. This resulted in an overpayment of benefits of £3,519.45
Christopher Styles of Blackswan Buildings, Southgate Street, Winchester, admitted he failed to declare capital of £30,000 and to receiving benefit overpayments of £2,270.11. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £200.
Arthur Appleby of Somerville Road, Kingsworthy, was ordered to carry out an 80 hour community punishment order and pay costs of £250 after admitting he failed to declare work and receiving a benefit overpayment of £15,333.98.
Norman Wesson of Firmstone Road, Winchester, was given an 18 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 costs after he admitted failing to declare work and receiving benefit overpayment of £7,690.12.
The City Council's Director of Finance, Sheila Boden, said the Council has a duty to prevent and detect benefit fraud in the district.
"We have a clear message to people who carry out benefit fraud - we will find out and we will prosecute," she added. "In addition to the fines and costs imposed, we also recover the overpayment from them."
She went on to say that the Council need the help of residents in the district to identify people claiming Benefit when they are not entitled to it.
The City Council has a confidential Benefit Fraud Help-line - 01962 848306 - which members of the public can use. Callers do not have to leave their name, and all calls will be followed up.